Saturday, 21 December 2013

Its Christmas .....

It’s Christmas, that time of the year when we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ the Son of God who placed Him in a manger, the greatest Christmas gift of all to everyone.

We celebrate Christmas this year in this wonderful free land Australia which is now our home and are blessed to have all our children and their families to share it with us for the first time in more than twenty years; I look forward to that and thank God for making it possible. I have asked all of them to contribute to this by writing a paragraph which  will follow.

This is the time of the year when we bless others with gifts and it saddens me to see how Christmas has been commercialized and it seems that people think that they have to spend hundreds of dollars on presents, the prediction is that the average Aussie will spend $475.00 on gifts so nationally we will spend $7.8 Billion! And that it is acceptable to over indulge in food and drink and generally behave badly. Having said that I love Christmas, I remember back in the fifties and sixties when we had great fun making the decorations for the lounge and the tree and getting it all ready for Santa’s visit, singing carols and visiting family and friends. One of the highlights of the year was going to the Johannesburg Municipality Christmas Tree (South Africa) as for about 30 years my dad was
My sister with mum about 1953
Father Christmas and my brother and I had the privilege of helping him dress in his Santa suite, not that he needed much help but it was great fun. He would arrive in different modes of transport, for a time it was held at Baragwaneth Airport and he arrived in a Fire Engine then the next year he arrived in an aeroplane, what times they were.

When our children were growing up we spent most Christmases at home, they all helped decorating the tree, then on the 24th put biscuits and a drink out for Santa and carrots for Rudolph and the reindeer, it was then a mission to get them to go to sleep which they eventually did. The rule was that they could not wake us before 6 AM Christmas morning but they were always up much earlier and we would be woken with their whispers as the crept down the passage to see if Santa had delivered the much anticipated gifts. At precisely 6 AM the door would fly open, coffee was ready and served, the stereo  turned on playing Carols and the waited for the “a for AWAY and go GO” which was the signal to start opening presents. The joy of watching their faces light up as their presents were unwrapped was something that I will cherish for all time.

Now our children have their own families, the grand children have a great time decorating our
tree. We have a quiet morning although we normally get an early phone call or two with wishes, depending on circumstances we may attend Church, where we get to sing traditional Christmas carols something that I look forward to and enjoy. The children take it in turns to host the lunch which we all contribute too and we have a wonderful time, with carols playing, grand children playing together, then before you know it it's time to gather around the table and after we have given thanks to our Lord we all enjoy the wonderful feast that has been lovingly prepared by the ladies. After we spend the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying each others company . Unfortunately all good things come to an end and it is soon time for all to depart for our homes.

Kathleen..............The joys of Christmas, so what makes it so special in my life?

Christmas decorations have been in a box for a whole year and when you open to find the hidden treasures of many years of memories gone by one sits and remembers the children and their excitement of waiting for the 1 December to arrive to put the tree up and decorate it and the rest of the house. Christmas lights are a sign of happiness and it gives the world a spirit of love and wellbeing. The girls cuteness of having to wash all their dolls and their clothes, redress them and place them under the tree for Santa and his helpers to put new clothes on them. The wonderful sound of the patter of feet on Christmas eve to see if Santa had arrived and wee voices with excitement when they see all the presents around the tree and then the wait for 6 am and a coffee brought to our bedroom to say that Santa had arrived. One very special Christmas was when my mother spent with us and the children had gotten her up to sit with them until 6am. What happy memories. Now the children have left home and it’s their turn with their children but memories still linger there and on Christmas day I am blessed to be with my family celebrating a special birthday of a King, my Lord and Saviour. Remember that CHRISTMAS means Christ My Almighty Saviour.
A very special decoration I have cherished is my Angel. I have had her since I put up my first Christmas tree 43 years ago. It has travelled many miles and even across the sea.

Our children have their say

Chareen.............Special memories

Christmas is one of those times in the year that hold many special memories for me.  During my growing up years I can always remember the excitement and anticipation that we all had.  I have very fond memories of counting the days to the first of December so we could find all the special decorations and tree.  We would gather together in the lounge and decorate the tree together.  It was always a time of fun, love and laughter.  My mothers Christmas angel was always the highlight and it's still not Christmas until she is put lovingly on the top of the tree.  I had the privilege of growing up in a christian home and we all knew that Christmas is about Jesus.  He is the reason for the season.  Our hearts were always pointed towards Him and the Father's love for the world. I learned a valuable lesson from the consistency of this family tradition, it has given us a sense of belonging, of knowing who we are together, it is our identity. As grown ups with children of our own we all can't wait for the time of the year so we can put up our Christmas trees!  My sisters had theirs up in November this year ...

I agree with these words of Franklin Sanders {At Home in Dogwood Mudhole} “A tradition is something you do once and discover a joy so deep that you do it again, Christmas after Christmas, to keep on savoring it and make it last. ”   The happy memories and sense of wonder that filled my growing years are one of the many reasons I still love Christmas today.  I am filled with a sense of His almighty act of love coming to earth and bringing about the salvation of man.  The traditions of anticipation, the wonder, the pleasure of family were the best gifts that my parents bestowed upon me.

Once we were blessed with children the importance of Christmas and forming traditions for our children really impacted us. We want our children to know we love them, that God loves them and to have precious memories too. A tradition is something that can change over time or be created with a sense of purpose. Special moments need to be created they do not occur by accident or without planning. I have come to realize that the traditions I grew up with that created those special memories are the reason I want to continue each year. I want to keep 'savoring it and make it last' with my children and that is the legacy that I have from the many experiences growing up.
 We have three children.  Our oldest are 20 and 18 and will pop their head in and check whether or not I have purchased the Advent wafers.  I only buy these wafers during Advent and it's a tradition that has stuck. Advent is a new tradition we added to our family in 2000.  Last year we created this upcycled Nativity scene together.  Each year we choose an advent book to read.  This year we are reading Jotham's Journey. As our youngest grows we have added a
few more things we do each year that he enjoys.  We have started an annual trip to Melbourne to have a look at the Myer Christmas windows.  This started with my oldest two when we were living in New Zealand and it's continued here in Australia.  Some of the other traditions we practice are going to see the Christmas lights in our neighborhood, visiting Melbourne to see the laser light show, visiting the Town Hall to see the Gingerbread Village, read our ever growing pile of favourite Christmas books and I make a gingerbread house . I did not realize this had become a tradition until I was asked last year "Where is the Gingerbread house ?"  Some traditions just happen by accident. Even after Christmas we focus our hearts and minds on the Lord and look at the 12 Days of Christmas


Nadeen.............Memories of Christmas

Hooray school is over for the year and now we get to play with our old school book. Who on earth wanted those Ewwwww!!! So what did we do? Make Christmas decorations with them of course! Then off to find candles to wax the hinges of the doors so when we want to sneak out of bed the doors won’t creak!
Christmas night, oh what a treat. We would make sure that the song ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’ that was on our famous Christmas tape was ready to play full tilt at 6 AM.

Lying in bed desperately trying to fall asleep so Father Christmas could come and deliver presents. . .  Midnight I would wake up Girl and we would try and sneak to the lounge to see if there were presents. Most of the time all we would get on our way to the lounge was “get back to bed”  Darn!!! Mom has got good hearing. Then try again and again until we finally made it to the lounge. And boy oh boy what a surprise! Stockings filled to the brim.  Now to wake our brother . . . then much much later our eldest sister.  Now for the agonizing wait till 6am to wake Dad and Mom with coffee. Hurray! finally 6AM. Running into Dad and Mom’s room shouting on the top of our lungs “Father Christmas was here!!!” Off to the lounge where their coffee was waiting. All four of us waiting in anticipation for the famous words from Dad. . . “A for away and G  O  for go! Opening presents was amazing and so exciting.

To this day I try and make it as exciting for my three boys as it was for me. Memories, priceless memories of family time and amazing gifts. But they don’t have their mothers’ genes and sadly I wake them up screaming “Father Christmas was here” but wait . . . I wonder if that will all change now that they are a year older.


Derek (Buddy)............What do I love about Christmas... 

A number of things, the first being present’s… who doesn’t love presents? It’s not the gifts that matter so much the simple fact of being thought of is the best thing for me, and of course I love wrapping the presents up so much that it is impossible to save the paper.. I think that paper at Christmas should not be saved. The second thing I love about Christmas is the fact that family get together to celebrate and have a good meal and times together, it’s not often that family gets together to give each other gifts and have a good meal and laughs and then afterwards to sit on the couch feeling over full from eating too much.  Lastly the most important of all is celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ, without that momentous moment we would have had no future and our world would have been worse off than it is now and we would of not had many things we currently enjoy today.

There are two Christmas that stick firmly in my mind. One being…  We were in Berg Aukas Namibia, I got tools from granny Williams, Pop pops Williams had passed away some time prior to this and these tools which I still have today were my share. I was playing with a rubber mallet and  was warned to be careful, I bounced it on the floor, I wanted to look at it from a different perspective -  looked at the top of the hammer… and the hammer hit the floor all right and I was too close and it bounced off my forehead … ouch!

And the second one was in Windhoek Namibia (South West Africa at the time), my  Dad came back from the war on leave and he set up the pool…  Nadeen waking us up at night to have a look at what father Christmas had brought us… just brings a smile to my face.  As a kid I found the best thing was my dad did the dishes that day.  Woot no hand washing dishes for us kids! 

Maryleen (Girl)........Such an incredible tradition celebrated worldwide!

My greatest memories were when I was 7 or 8 with family. We were brought up knowing about Santa which was such a wonderful thing. The mystery and intrigue of Santa was incredible at that age – how does he get presents to ALL the boys and girls in one night!

I remember clearly one night. It must have been 2 AM and my sister (Nadeen) waking us all up to see if Santa had delivered our gifts. We silently crept (although I’m sure my parents never slept Christmas Eve due to us being up so early)…… YES! The tree lights were on and there under the tree were our gifts. My mother always taught us about Christmas and that it’s actually Jesus’ Birthday. There were beautiful Nativity scenes in our home amongst the decor. I could not wait to make tree decorations with salt dough. We would bake them and then paint them then with much glitter it would be ready to hang. We always had a huge water melon that stayed in the pool (to keep cool) for it was too big for the fridge. Then the desert – YUM – one lucky person would find a coin in theirs…. Mum use to play the piano and we would all sing carols together – so much fun with a big family.

It never really was the gifts for me. What I love about Christmas is having fun with siblings, decorating our home, the imagination and the magic of the season and family time.


May you and your family have a Blessed Christmas 

Until next time.........Remember Jesus is the reason for the season

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