Christmas and Abundant Dwelling

I slept in and woke up just after 7am this morning. I made coffee and toasts, sat down with Tress, packed lunch from Christmas leftovers, and showered, changed and hopped into the car just after 8am. Tress drove me to the station and I got in just after 8.30. All this was partly made possible because the gym is still closed for the holidays and I had decided not to take any time off work, which feels like a mistake now… sigh…

We were at Uncle Seng’s last night and as always, Auntie Anne had whipped up a fabulous array of delicious food spread across the entire kitchen bench-top of their home in Mount Waverley. Tress’ cousins and other relatives were there.

Earlier that day, we had just stayed home, watched the cricket and pottered about the home. I cleaned out the weber after cooking on it on Christmas Day, and generally just did small stuff, alternating with watching the cricket. England looked like they were determined not to lose – more than a desire to win – so the run rate was a boring 2+ and it was easy to just do other stuff while leaving the cricket on or alternating with other channels. Tress did the same thing, with all sorts of tasks like laundry, taking out bags of trash, letting the little fellow in and out while I got in and out in the course of cleaning the barbie… it was that kind of day.

Christmas Day we had slept in, after a late night on Christmas Eve. Sleeping in these days often means we wake up at 7 instead of 5, so we could have made it to church for the service but we had planned not to, so we just spent the day getting ready for the guests who were coming.

Ing Tung and Chin Moi are some of our oldest friends in Melbourne. While chatting later night with our other guests, it dawned on us it was nearly 30 years ago when we first met. They were very helpful when we first came to Melbourne and continue to be our very dear friends. The Tongs on the other hand, are our newest friends in Melbourne. We only met them maybe 6 months ago, when I was shopping for a new suit in the Doncaster Westfield Myer store. Jason and Mel joined us later that night for drinks and we reminisced even more, as Jason, Ing Tung and I were all with OCF Sydney back in the day – in the mid to late 80’s…

By the time everyone left it was nearly midnight and after we cleaned up it was just past 1am, but it was wonderful to have reconnected with old friends as well as strengthened new bonds.

On Christmas Eve I had left work at noon – the office closed at 12pm – and I dragged Tress and Kiddo to Indian Delight for lunch as I had become really hungry by the time I got home. The midday train was running the city loop – ie Parliament was the first stop, making its way through the loop and left for Blackburn only via Flinders. Stopping every station, it was a long trek home but thankfully the driver put a smile on everyone’s face. He playfully said he wanted to let everyone know the next day was a public holiday and went on to explain the reason for it. He explained the Christian faith in a 1 minute summary – essentially saying Jesus came into the world to save sinners – and wished everyone a wonderful Christmas. I was very happy the driver did what he did and the longer than usual journey home became very pleasant. It didn’t make me less hungry though so to Indian Delight we went and it wasn’t until 8pm that night I did another barbeque. Tress had bought a large piece of barramundi earlier that day.

After a dinner of very juicy fish and fresh salad, we sat down to watch the Sidney Myer music bowl Christmas Carol.

Just after 10.30, we drove to church for the Christmas Eve carol and communion service. The church was packed out and we had to park on the Uniting Church ground across the road on Koonung Road. The focus was pleasantly on Jesus and what He came to do, what our response should be and all that. For a while Tress and Kiddo were worried because as we were walking from the car park we thought we saw people very dressed up but as we settled down at our seats we realised that was only a handful of people. Peter and his staff though were dressed up more than usual and it was very nice to see the extent to which Peter and the church had gone, to make this occasion a pointed and important one. The service ended about 12.40am, and we got home just after 1.

Late nights, lots of food, lots of time with families and people you care for, all surrounding the central theme of Jesus’ coming. One of the numerous readings on Christmas Eve in church was John 1:14:

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The abundance of providence and fellowship is, I’d like to think, very possibly a result of the Word having made a dwelling amongst us. Perhaps…