“We’re just glad to have you for Christmas” were my Mum’s kind words. After two years away from home missing Christmases and Birthdays, it was good to be home this year for my birthday, Christmas and New years. Often I think to myself that even though I would never change where God has taken me, I have in some way neglected my family and friends back home – that I’ve travelled the world doing God’s work, but left friends in the lurch. Spending this season at home, before jetting away again is an opportunity for me to make up for lost time. To spend quality time with my family, to help around the home where I can, to laugh, cry and hope with friends wherever they are at in life and to share with anyone who wants to know a little of what God has been doing in my life. My prayer is that God will use me in the time that I am here to bless people.
I was also delighted to spend this Christmas Eve at Grace Wamberal. I put in many hours of planning and two days of maintenance work to bring our lighting installation up to scratch for the carols service. It was so rewarding to see it on the night – everything working and arranged for the best coverage. Few if any people commented on the lighting this year, and that’s actually the way that I think it should be. They didn’t notice it at all, rather they were rejoicing and celebrating Jesus birth. When large numbers of people notice what I do, whether positive or negative – I know I’ve done something wrong, because my job is to point to the saviour, not to wow people with special effects.
As the new year dawns, I’ll be getting back to working in the church office on websites near and far in addition to continuing work on the audio visual equipment. I hope to be of the best use to the kingdom of God that I can be during these summer months at home. In April I will be heading over to England to be involved in an Audio/Visual missions movement called OMNIvision. I wish you and your families and friends all the best for 2012.
Christmas is for me mostly a time to remember and focus upon the unfathomable miracle and mystery that God himself came in flesh, as a helpless baby named Jesus. He lived amongst us, ate and drank with us, worked, played and slept. And He came ultimately to die for us. Every year this one event in history seems even more amazing and even more relevant to me in this time. Coming second place at Christmas time, though still very special and very important is time with my family. I am blessed to have a very loving family who delight in spending time with me, and I with them also. Whilst last Christmas I may have gone to Church with my parents and seen old friends, then returned home to have Christmas lunch with my Nan and Pop, Uncle and Auntie and Mum and Dad, and I may have visited other relatives and friends – this year was different.
My Christmas story starts with me dressed to the nines, a suit and tie – I even ironed my shirt and trousers. Surrounded by other stunningly dressed ladies and gentlemen, I was ushered to my family table to sit with my ‘ship family’. These lovely people are my family away from home, brothers and sisters with whom I share birthdays and Christmas and meet once a week.
After I was seated the director of the ship served me an entrée. In fact the entire leadership team on Logos Hope was waiting on the rest of the crew. It reminded me of when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.
After Christmas Eve dinner we went to the Logos Lounge for a special carols service. Like often I am at home, I was on the Audio Visual team for the carols service. I was rather stressed but still satisfied in the end with the production. I think the crew really enjoyed it.
After the service I received a phone call from my parents. It was Christmas day in Australia and they were gathered for Christmas lunch. I said ‘Happy Christmas’ to all my beloved relatives and chatted for a little while. It was so good to connect with my family on such a special occasion.
After the phone call I returned to the Logos Lounge where we randomly exchanged gifts by swapping many times. In the end I received a Hillsong CD ‘The I heart Revolution’ that I didn’t have yet. Awesome! Then off to bed ready for the next Day.
On Christmas morning I received a great phone call from Terry Rochford wishing me happy Christmas. After that I went up to Christmas brunch in the dining room which was a delightful meal.
Then it was time for the Christmas Church Service. The star feature was a christmas play by the ship’s school. Kids of all ages participated in this epic production telling the true story of Christmas – Jesus coming to earth as a helpless baby to rescue us from sin and death.
After this the director and the captain gave out gifts to all the children on board from beneath the Christmas tree.
After church we all went to the bow to have a photo taken.
And we ended the day with a Christmas Barbeque (just like Australia) up on the top deck.
New years celebrations were also amazing with a special video with pictures from the year that passed, music and dancing and fireworks.