Because I don’t have kids or pets to put on my Christmas cards; Cornelius, NC, October 2016.


{Canvas, coffee filters, acrylic paint, paper bag, magazines, book pages, permanent marker, cardboard, bamboo sushi mat, burlap, aluminum can, aluminum foil. Used in the process: bubble wrap.}

Tbh this one is relatively straightforward. Still, here are a few thoughts I had along the way.

The manger | Simple materials for a simple setting. When Jesus is born, God comes to earth in maybe one of the most vulnerable beings there is — a newborn baby. In a barn. So cardboard, some burlap scraps, and a simple structure seemed fitting for this surprisingly ordinary setting.

The star | The general shape came about as I remembered this star, but this time the splatter is my favorite part. There’s something freeing about the process of painting this way. You can have a vague idea of where you think or want the color to go, but at least when it comes to my practices, really I’m just flinging paint around and hoping for the best. What actually happens can be unpredictable. Startling. Not entirely unlike the baby whose birthday Christians celebrate on Christmas. (But don’t worry Mom and Dad; I promise I didn’t get any paint on your carpet.)

The trail | This path itself is made out of book pages covered in newspaper headlines. The human experience that Jesus came to live. I cut them up, because I didn’t want the words themselves to be the focus. But they’re still there, heartbreak woven into the very fabric of who we are as people trying to figure out how to live together. I didn’t pick the easy headlines, because “easy” isn’t a word that fits with what I know of Jesus’s life on earth. And even in the midst of the joyful celebration of Jesus’s birth, I find myself thinking about the gravity of how his life would end. Follow the trail to the top of the hill and you’ll find crosses. They’re not meant to steal the show — the trail is long and winding, over hills and through a valley. It’s not quite time to focus on them yet, liturgically speaking. And, of course, even that end is only the beginning.


This startling star has had a busy Christmas! In addition to traveling to friends and family in 18 different states on my holiday postcards…


…it made the cover of a few different worship bulletins at Davidson College Presbyterian Church…


and was shared by Georgia Interfaith Power and Light to wish their Facebook followers a merry Christmas. What fun!