Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas time

Not everyone enjoys Christmas time.  There are a variety of reasons for this.  Stress (have you seen Aldi's Christmas ad this year?), grief over lost loved ones, disappointment that the family get-together didn't include reconciliation.  I'm sure there are many more.

And it's only made worse by those Christmas songs that call this "the most wonderful time of the year".  Those who don't find it wonderful feel pressure to enjoy this season, but it seems in the act of trying the joy slips out of reach.

We think we should be happy at Christmas time.  We should enjoy time with our friends and family and good food.  And these are right and good desires.  That's why it hurts so much when they're not fulfilled.

But I think it's okay to have a good Christmas without these things.  It's possible to have a good Christmas without these things.  Because there are a number of things that we think Christmas is about that are actually wrong.

Christmas is not about your happiness.
Christmas is not about family.
Christmas is not about food, or presents, or generosity, or friendship.

Christmas is about Christ.

That little baby, whom God sent into the world as a gift.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him shall not die, but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Christmas is about Jesus.  But you can't understand the gift if you only look at the baby in the manger.  Take a look at Jesus' life, what he did when he grew up, how he died, and what happened next.

When we understand the gift God gave the world at Christmas time, we see that to truly enjoy Christmas is to receive this gift and thank God for it.  So go and check out God's gift, you might be surprised.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

We're on a babymoon!

In my last post I mentioned that we drove down to Melbourne. This was just a stop on our way to Tasmania for a baby-moon. Apparently it's a thing that some people do: go on a holiday before the baby is born as a kind of second honeymoon and a last holiday without children. We thought it sounded like a good excuse for a holiday.

J and I were tossing up between Tasmania and New Zealand. J had been to Tasmania before and wanted to show me around. I have been to New Zealand and wanted to show J around. We only had a week to play with, and since Tasmania is smaller we opted for there. Unfortunately a lot of Tasmanian gems are seen by doing long walks, which I can't do at the moment. But I suppose New Zealand would have been the same. We'll just have to go back to Tasmania another time!

We're hiring a car while we're here and staying in Hobart, Strahan, and Launceston. Hobart is first and so far we love it. It's a pretty city that's easy to get around and has interesting places to explore in and around it.

Again, I don't think I'll be great at getting photos up on the blog, but if you'd like to see some more photos you can have a look at my instagram photos further down on the right panel (website version of the blog for those who read via email).

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Hello new car

So I've been a bit slow in posting about this, but we finally bought a car. Not to replace Claude, but yes to replace Claude. We knew we would have had to up size from the Peugeot, which was only a three door (because the boot strangely counts as a door) to make room for the baby, but we said goodbye to Claude much earlier than we would have liked.

You may have noticed that the last few blogposts haven't included any photos. That's because my computer is currently having repairs done and I've been posting from my phone. Photos are much easier to do on the computer, but I will try and include a photo of our car somewhere in this post (to be honest, I'm not sure where in the post it'll turn up, but it'll be in here somewhere!).

The new car is a 2006 Mazda 3 sedan. 
Features include:

  • black paint (wonderful in Aussie summers!),
  • 6-speed manual (so you get into reverse by pushing the gear-stick down and to the left, very strange),
  • red interior lights (so it feels like we're on an imperial ship),
  • temperature control air-conditioning (no more too cold with air-con and too hot without it),
  • 6 disk CD player (we could fit more than half of our Sherlock audiobook disks in at once if we wanted to!),
  • Cruise control (which I really enjoyed using on our drive down to Melbourne yesterday),
  • A sneaky aux plug (at first we thought there wasn't one, but I found it in the centre console with a little gap in the lid for the cable to poke out, how clever!),
  • and the indicator is on the right side (the right side) because it's not a European car (sorry Claude).

We haven't named the car yet. Naming is tricky, and we've also got a far more important naming to think through at the moment. Any ideas for the name of our car?

Overall, we're very pleased with the car and thankful for God's provision: both in the money to buy it, and in our finding this car.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

I'm not good at goodbyes

I'm not sure I've ever thought about the word "goodbye" before.  It begins with "good", but often I don't feel like goodbyes are good, and I certainly don't feel any good at saying them.

Yesterday I said goodbye to friends who have finished college and are moving back to New Zealand. It was so much easier to say "see you later". But I corrected myself. I know that goodbye is more accurate because I don't know if I will ever see them again.

But then she said to me "until next time", and that felt better than goodbye. We don't know when we'll see each other again, but we are God's children, saved by our faith in Jesus, and we know that we will see each other again in heaven.

Today we also had our church Christmas lunch, which included a farewell to J and I because we will be going to a different church for different training next year. These goodbyes weren't as final as the friends I mentioned, but they were still sad. We won't see this church family every week anymore. Though we'll still be in the same city, our interactions won't be the same.

It was hard saying goodbye to these friends too. It was much easier to say "we'll see you again, we'll come and visit", and try to avoid the sadness of goodbye. I didn't want the sadness of goodbye. But again, I know that I will see these friends in heaven, even after we have our final goodbyes.

Thank you God, for our hope of heaven. Perhaps goodbyes can be good after all.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Thankful Thursday

It's been a little while since I've posted in this what was meant to be weekly series.  Whoops.  We're now onto our fourth week of holidays, or I guess in my case: unemployment.  But I like to think of it as holidays, or even a really long maternity leave, because I don't plan to get a job before the baby arrives, and after will be a whole occupation in itself.

Here are some things that I'm thankful for this week:

Games with friends
We've had two nights of dinner and games with friends this week.  We haven't played games much lately with the stress of the end of the year at college so it was nice to have some fun.  I love that so many of our friends and neighbours enjoy playing board games and card games which means we have so many people to play with.  It was lovely to be able to catch up with these friends and hear about their holidays and chat about life. 

The health care system in Australia
We really do have such a good health care system here.  I haven't had to pay for any of my pregnancy appointments because I'm bulk billed as a low-income patient.  But even despite this there is good public health care available, free!  I had a hospital appointment this week and my glucose tolerance test today and it was all so easy. I'm hoping that my test doesn't turn up gestational diabetes but we'll have to wait and see.

Generous community
Two ladies in my community have just had babies and are also moving out at the end of the year.  Both of them have offered me lots of maternity clothes, more than I even need or could fit in my wardrobe.  I'm so thankful for their generosity and the blessing that it is living in this community.

What are you thankful for this week?

(By the way, my parcel arrived as expected two weeks ago!)