This year, I have thrown away a lot of Christmas photos. It's not that I don't love to receive them, look at them, and nostalgically reflect on friend and family in photo, it's that after that reflection period, I'm just not quite sure what to do with lots of pictures of happy families. I remember the year when I sent out Christmas photos of myself and 3 room-mates. I felt behind at that time. Now, 6 years later, I care less that any photo I might send out in Christmas cards would be my school ping pong photo from work. But obviously, caring less is still caring enough to write about it here.
Maybe words, more than anything else, have been my true gifts this season. Even if I rip up the paper or delete the email, it's the significance of the words that I never throw out. On a card from a boy that I work with at school, in his best hand-writing, "Portia, thank you for the cookies when I'm good." Or the words in another friends' email, "I thought of you the other day." Or maybe the words from another friend in a text message "I'm glad I have a friend like you." Or it might be the words from my brother on the phone, "I can't wait to hang out with you." And finally, the last and loudest words from a mother, "We love you! We're so excited to share this Christmas with you." These words, all framed like photos in my head represent to me, there is at least at times, some good will toward men or rather toward me. But sometimes these words don't come swift enough, and I find myself feeling sad and unsure of love.
And so, when I forget, as I so often do, I must remember to turn my eyes from the praise of others and the glossy faces in photos, and look to the only Words that can bring life.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government shall be upon his shoulders.
And he will be called . . .
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."