29 December 2017

Christmas 2017



Another Christmas has come and gone.  

I always find it amazing how there is such a big build up to Christmas (especially thanks to shops and advertising) and then over a day or two it happens, and we are left afterwards wondering how quickly it's come and gone.  There is an awkward gap in between Christmas and New Years where we feel aimless, wandering around wondering what day it is, regretting the amount of Christmas food we consumed and hesitant about what day we are meant to pack up the Christmas tree and decorations.

As each year passes I find myself having mixed feelings each Christmas - it's a funny time of year, filled with celebrating our faith, so much food, family and fun, but also a difficult time of year for many reasons as well.  It's the time of year where we remember what Christmas was like as children for us, and as we get older and that excitement disappears, the sparkle of Christmas seems to fade, but then with another generation of children enjoying this season, it all seems to come alive again.  

I find myself telling my children stories of what Christmas was like for my brother and myself growing up - and with the retelling of those stories, there is the sadness that comes with his loss, but along with that, there is the rekindling of the fun, the excitement and the funny stories, like my parent's tradition of sprinkling lollies over the presents under the Christmas tree, and the year we woke up to find soggy half chewed lollies everywhere, thanks to our dog Cassi discovering the magic of Christmas lollies in the early hours of Christmas morning.  I remember the year there was a giant guitar shaped gift sitting behind our Christmas tree, and when asked what it was, my parents just kept saying it was a gift for my Pop.  Once all the gifts had been opened, they revealed it was actually a present for my brother, and upon opening it we discovered a unicycle!  I still remember the joy and excitement I felt at this unusual gift (even though it wasn't for me!) and the hours my brother Jamie spent over that summer in the passage of our house and out on the lawn mastering how to ride it.  So many good memories!

I'm sure my children will have stories to one day share - like this year when Mykah generously bought his little sister a giant penguin soft toy which he hid in our vacuum cleaner closet and wrote an elaborate riddle that sent her on a hunt to find the toy.



This year was special and hard all rolled into one.  As each year goes by there are often special people missing, some now living overseas and some who have passed on.  It never is the same without these loved ones, but one thing I've realised is that it is normal to feel this way - because Christmas is a time filled with family and memories, it's right to feel their loss even more so during these times, because they were and are so loved.

So this year we had tears, and we learned that there will be new 'normals', but I've realised that this will always be the way, and the most important thing is to remember and cherish the stories of old, and embrace those we have with us now, and to plan to make new memories in the future.

These little faces helped a lot though...






So this year on Christmas Eve, we went to church in the morning, where Symon shared a beautiful message (listen here - so good!).

On Christmas morning, our family woke and opened gifts together, then my Dad, Mum and Nana came around for a late breakfast - pancakes and bagels with cream cheese & jam!  It was a lovely morning together, and afterwards we headed off to my Aunt & Uncle's for Christmas lunch with my side of the family.  The bonus was having my nephew Jayden there!

Check us all out:

*Excuse the wonky pic - this was taken with a self timer on my phone which was wedged between the gap on a picnic table...



Symon & I with my parents, nana, kids and nephew...



The boys - 5 of my most favourite guys right here...



80's boy band coming to a cassette store near you soon...



The ladies...



The ladies when Nana tells us we need to look like we were brought up proper...



I love my family.


On Boxing Day we had Christmas lunch with Symon's side of the family.  It was our first Christmas without Dad Drake, and there was also 9 other family members who weren't there, so it definitely felt different this year, but it was still lovely.  Family is so precious, no matter how many are present.





A great day for swimming as well!




The day after Boxing Day we made a very important visit to a local chemist store to use a Christmas voucher - our youngest had her dream come true of getting her ears pierced!






So Christmas for 2017 was lovely - each year is different, and I'm sure each year in the future will change dramatically over the years, but as I ponder on this year nearly passed, I am thankful for my family and friends, thankful for the memories made, and so thankful for the hope we have in Jesus, who came down to earth to live as a man, die for our sins then rise again, so that us here on earth could find forgiveness and peace and discover an amazing future we have ahead because of Him.

That is the best news ever.


To see all my instagram Christmas photos for 2017, go here.

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