Monthly Archives: December 2011

Nazareth

The annual Christmas message given by Pope Benedict XVI today drew attention to the importance of this day and his words below struck a chord with me, as it reminded me of conversations I’ve had with some of my Christian girlfriends about the challenge of maintaining a focus (particularly with their children) on the historical, Biblical and, above all, spiritual significance of Christmas while constantly being bombarded by commercialism. The Pope stated:

‎”Let us ask the Lord to help us see through the superficial glitter of this season, and to discover behind it the child in the stable in Bethlehem, so as to find true joy and true light… Let us strip away our fixation on what is material, on what can be measured and grasped. Let us allow ourselves to be made simple by the God who reveals Himself to the simple of heart…”

So in honor of this message of remembrance, I’ve selected a few images of Nazareth, the Biblical town I was fortunate enough to visit a number of times while living an hour away in Haifa. Among the places shown are:
The Basilica of the Annunciation – built over the grotto where, according to the Roman Catholic tradition, the angel Gabriel announced to Virgin Mary that she would conceive and become of the mother of Jesus,
A Woman Clothed with the Sun – the sculpture in the Basilica of the Annunciation created by American sculptor Charles L. Madden, inspired by the quote, “The grandeur of God… will flame out, like shining from shook foil.”
The Church of St. Joseph – built on the carpentry shop of Joseph,
The Synagogue Church – where Jesus preached (Luke 4:16) and
Mary’s well – where, according to other traditions, the Annunciation took place.

Enjoy this visit to Nazareth and Merry Christmas!

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sweater-less and simplified [oklahoma city family portrait photography]

Perhaps it’s all of the colors and lights that go up this time of year or that my retinas are still recovering from the visual overload of the midnight-to-dawn shopping marathon with my high school besties on Black Friday, but I’m finding myself wanting to monochrome every image I edit, especially when it is a part of a set like in the Christmas cards below.

Why It Works
Compliment, don’t compete – Even though the colors of the outfits below were beautifully coordinated with each other, turning the images black and white supports the design of the cards and helps punctuate the text. The red-and-white stamp and the green bow would have gotten lost among the bright hues of the original photos. Generally, if a photo’s “frame” (in this case, the card design) doesn’t compliment the colors in the image, try converting the photo to black and white. The same goes for the reverse:  if choosing colors for design is more of a pain than a pleasure, you can never go wrong with a simple white mat and a black or neutral frame for displaying a colorful photo on your wall.

Lighten up – Holiday cards can be dense:  greetings, photos, updates, design, and so much cheer. One way to let them breathe is by taking off the stuffy holiday sweaters, especially the ones with the reindeer and the candy canes and the snowflakes and the mistletoe. It’s Christmas, we get it. Now we want to look at your face, but your sweater won’t let us. Returning to the point above, your clothes should compliment you, not compete with you for attention. And they don’t necessarily have to be winter clothes. Even Kyle and Shay Payne’s family portraits taken in the middle of the hottest summer Oklahoma has ever seen work just fine in a Christmas card. And it doesn’t hurt that their kids are just.so.adorable.

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Katharine - “Santa Approved” Love it!