Merry Christmas….

Couldn’t let this very jolly holiday roll by without a quick blog post. And to properly commemorate the season, let me tell a little story…

whiskerino dec 11 (actual nov 30)

This is a photo my wife took 5 years ago. It was my sons’ first Christmas; your first Christmas as a dad is pretty amazing, even if your kiddo is only old enough to want to EAT all his gifts rather than play with them. That’s the year that all the holiday magic starts to flow back into your life, after an adulthood sets in that threatens to overtake you with stupid adult jadedness.

Pictured in that photograph, is an ornament made in 1985. That’s right, it was from MY first Christmas. My mom passed it on to me to hang on our Christmas tree that season, 5 years ago.

A lot of things have happened since then. Terrible things, wonderful things, and everything in-between. The most recent of those terrible things is my camera having been stolen, just last week. Not a fun way to enter into your holiday season…

And closer to the date of this picture, a tornado happened. No fun either…. and because of that tornado, the ornament pictured no longer exists (or if it does, it’s probably in a tree somewhere 100 miles away). So here’s what I said when I posted the picture on Facebook:
Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 3.42.52 PM

My point was to say that this photo matters just as much or more than the THING in the photo. And I still want to make that point; I value photos like this so much. The power of a photograph is why I do what I do for a living. There’s a power to telling a story through an image, and God has blessed me with a passion for it.

My favorite part of this story, though, is what happened just this morning, when a very sweet client (someone I’ve worked with since the very beginning, who believed in me when my work kinda SUCKED) texted me to ask if I could drop by her workplace because she had something for me.

here’s what I pulled out of the gift sack:

2014-12-23 09.33.50

My client & friend had seen my facebook post, did a search for Christmas ornaments, found a matching one (yep, from 1985) and bought it for me.

That’s the kind of clients I have. Good GRIEF that’s amazing.

And now, I have a 1985 Christmas ornament that means even more to me than the last one… not because the object matters in and of itself, but because it is so packed with meaning. It’s something I can look at and remember not only my childhood…not only my sons’ first Christmas… but also an added layer of the kindness that God and people in my life have shown to me.

Still true… things are just things. But it’s what the things symbolize that counts; just like Christmas itself. We get distracted by the STUFF, when the STUFF is meant to remind us of the gift we were given in a savior that loves us and was willing to die for us. The things only matter if we remember what they represent. And if we DO hold on to that meaning, oh how much sweeter those things are.

Yes, a tornado took my house and everything in it once. But God provided, and people helped, and it was all ok…. in fact, BETTER in the end.

Yes, my camera was stolen last week and that’s a bummer. But God provides (this time through a busy season and an insurance company that did the right thing), and people do some really incredibly nice things.  So rather than lingering on what goes wrong and the things that are missing, I do my best to thank my creator and pass on the kindness and grace to others.

(and I finally get to update my camera).

Merry Christmas guys. See you next year.

-Mark

PS: to properly close out this somewhat sappy post, here’s an over-the-top sappy picture, also from 5 years ago. pastel cardigan and feathered hair and all… yes, I can be sentimental and sarcastic all at once can’t I?

whiskerino Dec 23

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