Self-reflection (Christmas, 2010)

Self-portrait (Christmas, 2010)

I realized I don’t have a lot of pictures of myself. No, I’m not a narcissist, but I was looking for a new profile picture to use and couldn’t find one.

Another day and another year older now. This time of year always makes me reflect (can a pun be made using an image?) on “the state of the jen.” I don’t know if I have much to show for by the standards of the world. I have no job (and therefore no money), no house (that I can call my own), and no family (that I’m responsible for).

My birthday depresses me, but I love Christmas. Why? Because it’s the most wonderful time of the year? Actually, no. It’s quite the opposite. I seldom write about my thoughts, much less my beliefs, but the Christmas I know always reminds me of hope. Check out this article over at the TGC blog.

..[the author] heard from someone about how difficult Christmas would be because of some heartbreak in their family. There was utter hopelessness and devastation. Christmas would be impossible to enjoy because of the freshness of this pain. It’s been a story very hard to forget.

We have it sunk deep into our collective cultural consciousness that Christmas is for the happy people. You know, those with idyllic family situations enjoyed around stocking-strewn hearth dreams. Christmas is for healthy people who laugh easily and at all the right times, right? The successful and the beautiful, who live in suburban bliss, can easily enjoy the holidays. They have not gotten lost on the way because of the GPS they got last year. They are beaming after watching a Christmas classic curled up on the couch as a family in front of their ginormous flat-screen. We live and act as if this is who should be enjoying Christmas.

But this is backwards. Christmas—the great story of the incarnation of the Rescuer—is for everyone, especially those who need a rescue.

Christmas is for those whose lives have been wrecked by cancer, and the thought of another Christmas seems like an impossible dream. Christmas is for those who would be nothing but lonely if not for social media. Christmas is for those whose marriages have careened against the retaining wall and are threatening to flip over the edge. Christmas is for the son whose father keeps giving him hunting gear when he wants art materials. Christmas is for smokers who cannot quit even in the face of a death sentence. Christmas is for prostitutes, adulterers, and porn stars who long for love in every wrong place. Christmas is for college students who are sitting in the midst of the family and already cannot wait to get out for another drink. Christmas is for those who traffic in failed dreams. Christmas is for those who have squandered the family name and fortune—they want “home” but cannot imagine a gracious reception. Christmas is for parents watching their children’s marriage fall into disarray.

Christmas is for those who will find it the hardest to enjoy. It really is for those who hate it most.

I love Christmas, no matter what I’m feeling inside.

Side thought: do people really know what they’re singing about when they sing those Christmas carols about a holy night and something about bringing joy to the world?

Image taken at the Westin St. Francis last week when I was taking the foreigners Canadians on part of my “SF on the cheap” tour: the Wonkavators (Willy Wonka’s elevator).

Cougar Cadet

Cougar Cadet

Edit: I know Dallas IS a big city, but maybe because they have so much space, they can spread out. Because when I was there, it didn’t FEEL like a big city with hardly any one crowded downtown.

After traveling to Ithaca and Dallas last month, I realized I missed the energy of a big city. Shot this today with Brad and Jeanne at Market and Powell where the Cougar Cadet Drumline was raising support. Oh, and the kids were REALLY good.

Gang of Four

Gang of Four

The Gang of Four was the name given to a leftist political faction composed of four Chinese Communist Party officials. They came to prominence during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) and were subsequently charged with a series of treasonous crimes.

Not to worry, the Gang of Four in the image above is just a bunch of people who like to walk around the city with their cameras.

From left to right: me, Jeanne, Brad, and Jason.
Taken on Valencia St.