… on… holiday greetings….

Well It’s that time of year when I start mailing out holiday greeting cards to friends and family. Some of my readers here will be the recipients of one of these cards.

The design is unlikely. It does not feature a photo of smiling people, posed and dressed up pets, holiday foods, decorations, winter scenes, Santa, reindeer, elves, manger/nativity scenes, wise men, glitz, glitter or any other feel-good objectification of the holiday season. In short it does not follow every other cliché of the holidays.

This run-down, abandoned, forgotten building represents the humblest of beginnings and how some of the greatest miracles came out of what others revile, despise, and want to destroy or tear down. I could even make the analogy to the Bible story of the birth of Jesus;  there was a poor unmarried couple – she was pregnant – for one of the most mundane activity of registering for a census they went to a town where they had no one to stay with.  In fact there was no place to stay but a stable – the hotels/hostels/inns/rooming houses were all full and they were stuck in a stinky drafty stable with animals.  The woman had a baby there in the stable (no hospitals around) and laid him in a manger which held the hay that the oxen ate. There was nothing romantic about it.  It was difficult.  It would have been a royal pain in the butt.  Yet, that baby went on to inspire millions.

If that bible story were to happen today imagine a young couple from another part of the country just gets off the bus and there are no hotel rooms available.  They are left to fend for themselves in the street.   They have no local connections.  No one offers them help.  that baby might be born in an abandoned building, like the one pictured, its parents feeling the conflicting emotions of guilt for the lack of suitable circumstances paradoxically paired with the joy of giving birth to new life. So do not judge too quickly the appearance of things. Like the front of the card says, “all is not lost” There is hope for the “least” of all things which is represented in the image by the added wreath over the boarded up window.

The text inside the card is a simple haiku that I created.

“The greatest reason
A humble beginning
This season of hope”

Manchester xmas sm

I was surprised by this photo after I had gotten home.  I remember taking it.  I shot it through my car windows which had salt splash and grunge on them.  What looks like bokeh spots is actually water droplets on my windshield from the falling snow.  It didn’t make for a very good photograph but it was interesting.  Before I started my post-processing; I almost deleted the file, but decided to go further and added more textures and layers in an extreme way that almost gave it a painterly look.  I also de-saturated most of the colors except for red and green.  So again, from very humble circumstances and imperfect photo conditions this image was born. It has always been a personal favorite of mine. I hope you enjoy it too as well as the story of it’s making and how it evolved into a holiday greeting card.

May each and every one of you – without regard for your circumstances find hope in humble beginnings and discover, hidden within, the greatest reason to celebrate and commemorate life. It is in You.

Your holiday music moment is provided by
Low – If You Were Born Today (Song for Little Baby Jesus) from their holiday album LOW CHRISTMAS

If you were born today
We’d kill you by age eight
Never get the chance to say

Joy to the world and
Peace on the earth
Forgive them for they know not what they do

Blessed are the meek and
Blessed are the humble
Blessed are the ninety and nine

Deny the flesh
Deny all that’s evil
Tonight you’ll deny me thrice

If you were born today
We’d kill you by age eight
Never get the chance to say…