Christmas is only two weeks away!
I have been relatively quiet here on Livejournal but not in the wider blogosphere. Matt and I have been working on The Advent Project, a labour of love that we have been planning and writing over the last couple of months. Now we are in Advent and our blog has been live for a couple of weeks. There is (if I may say so myself) a great collection of music, poetry, quotes, art, DIY ideas and book reviews to help reflect on the advent season, with more to come as we lead up to Christmas. Please have a look, I hope you find something interesting and edifying.
Christmas was lovely this year. We got to spend wonderful quality time with friends and family, including family who we don’t always see. In the middle of it all, on the 23rd, was a strong and wonderful reminder of why we celebrate Christmas at all and how gracious God is to us. I am very thankful to him that I have made it to Epiphany feeling rested and strong in my weakness, ready to face a new and different year.
As in previous years we had our advent calendar up in our apartment window, but this years was improved with fairy lights and new, lovingly crafted pictures collected from old cards and letters. Here are some photos:
Advent calendar at night
Images for each day of advent
My little brother is flying to America this week to follow his new girlfriend home and spend Christmas with her. We had a partial family Christmas celebration to make up for missing Christmas Day with him.
I really love my family. I know that all families have their difficulties but, amazingly, Christmas is always a really wonderful and positive time with my family. It’s a huge blessing, which I am increasingly thankful for with each passing year. This year’s partial family Christmas was no exception. We ate so much food, we played Ticket to Ride for the first time as a family, PK joked until my eyes watered with laughter and we wore ridiculous Christmas hats. As per normal we waited for about fifteen minutes for Mum and Dad to potter around before we could give PK and Maddie their presents.
The whole evening was a beautiful foretaste of the weeks to come, although of course PK will be sorely missed, especially the way he makes us laugh! I’ll have to imagine him making snow angels somewhere in Illinois and entertaining another family on Christmas Day.
I’m currently at work listening to That was the worst Christmas ever by Sufjan Stevens and collating the Food Insecurity survey responses to send back to all the agencies who participated in the study.
Reading everyone’s stories about not having enough to eat, especially the comments reflecting on Christmas, especially while listening to this song – it’s all a little bit overwhelming. I can’t help but wonder whether any of these people are better off a year later, or whether things have gotten worse.
In time the snow will rise, in time the snow will rise.
In time the Lord will rise, in time the Lord will rise.
Not knowing how to make things better is crippling.
Every morning this week I wake up and think “only a few more days to go”.
Even when you are tired and you are woken up by kookaburras an hour earlier than your alarm should be going off, it’s much easier to get out of bed when there is Christmas and holidays to look forward to!
Back in the days of Rach and Tim’s engagement and early marriage, when Rachel was temporarily an Australian, I learnt lots of crazy American recipes from her. Especially during Christmas. Apparently cooking sweet things is big in her family at Christmas time. The coolest recipe was definitely buckeyes – little balls of sweetened peanut butter covered in chocolate. Now I have a nice suite of recipes and ideas to cook Christmas treats for my workmates. Thanks Rachel!
Recently on Design*Sponge I saw this recipe for peanut butter cups. Inspirational! Time to merge memories of cooking with Rachel and Design*Sponge goodness:
They worked! And they taste awesome! Now I just have to make sure I don’t eat them all before I give them away…
Christmas at Anglicare is always the best. It’s time to decorate for the annual Christmas decoration competition and this year our little section of the building had an afternoon of organised chaos with our secondhand Christmas decorations. It was heaps of fun!
More pictures this way…