I thought this was a great time to touch base with those of you who follow me, to send some Christmas greetings and reflect a little on the past year.
Not a single person on the planet crossed that line from 2019 to 2020 knowing quite how this year was going to be. I remember hearing so many people express how they couldn’t WAIT for 2019 to be over–bring on 2020! A new year, with new hope, new opportunities. A fresh start. And then, Coronavirus… and not just our year, hopes, plans changed, our whole world changed.
For our family, some things we’d had planned couldn’t happen–weddings, conferences, vacations… Some things happened we weren’t anticipating, like finding out we were having another baby! But some things did still happen, like our annual dipnetting trip and my in-laws moving up here.
Funny thing this life is, isn’t it? We really never actually know what to expect. We might be tempted to plan ahead to 2021, hopeful that things might look at little more like 2019 again… but the reality is, we have no idea. Life is full of uncertainty.
As I spend this Christmas with my family, my belly fully engorged with a new baby, due early next year, reflecting on my Savior’s mother who was in this very state, I wonder… Did she try to imagine what the future would be like? Did she plan ahead for the next year? Did she try to figure out what the Hope of the world should be raised like? Did she wonder, what did all of this really mean?
Every Christmas, before we open gifts, our family reads the Christmas story as told in the book of Luke, to help us remember that all of the joy that presents bring is simply a type of the joy we receive from the Greatest Gift. This year, a verse stood out to me in a different way. Luke 2:19 says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” The things Mary pondered weren’t hopes for the future or memories of the past (those are good things to ponder sometimes too), but she was pondering the things that were happening around her, in the moment.
If any of us have learned lessons this year (and I hope we have–lots of them), one thing I really hope we take away from this crazy challenging time, is that THIS moment is our life. This day. This hour. I hope we stop a minute and take it in. I hope we look at the ordinary, repetitive, mundane, beautiful life we find right around us and ponder every bit of it in our hearts. I hope we are able to treasure not what we want to have, but what we do have. This wonderful, beautiful, messy, crazy life.
A Christmas Gift for You
As some of you may know I’ve been taking some time off from photography as I finish out my fourth pregnancy and spend some time with our little guy those first few months of his life, treasuring up what it means to be a family of six.
I plan to start taking on sessions again in the summer of 2021, as long as life doesn’t throw us any more crazy curve balls! I’d love to offer you all a Christmas gift to use in the next year because I want you to have artful photographs that help you to treasure up your lovely, ordinary lives. We can’t book any solid dates yet, but you can make a retainer deposit ($250, fully refundable) for 2021 and we can get you on the schedule later. For anyone who makes a deposit before the end of the 2020 year, I’ll gift you 20-4×6 prints from your gallery (this is an $80 value). Just mention “Christmas Gift 2020” when you book.
I’d really love to help you store up memories for future generations, but also to revel in this life you get to live today. It’s my favorite way to photograph your families–capturing stories, not poses.
“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope.” Psalm 16:8-9
I included this verse on our family Christmas card this year because it reminds me that my joy and my hope don’t come from a solidly planned future, not from a reliable government, not from health or wealth or confidence in anything this material world has to offer me. My hope is in a person, One who laid down his own life for mine, even when I didn’t deserve it. That’s grace. We need that certain, unshakeable joy, hope, and grace as we move into yet another year of unknown.
Many blessings to you and your family as you finish out this difficult year!