I love these words from Isaiah 9:6 as written in my old Authorised King James version of the Holy Bible. Warmth flows through me like a river of love, I smile and joy fills my world whatever else might be going on.
I'm home tonight, or almost home. We are staying at Mum's house, our Beach House, where Jane lives until the house is sold. Jane, our son Greg and John and I will share this house of many memories and wonderful holidays. Some years no-one made it to the beach at Christmas but my favourite Christmas memories are here. I could become maudlin thinking that this is likely to be the last Christmas anyone from our family will be here. My first Christmas Day here was in the '50s.
We are hoping for friends of Jane's to join us tomorrow but we won't know until the morning. We dream of the Christmas days when we went for a swim after opening our gifts and snoozed after lunch before playing on the beach. Reality is that sometimes it rains. Tonight the wind whistles around the house, the waves thump and rain courses down the windows intermittently. We are experiencing the tail end of a diminishing cyclone that caused so much devastation in Fiji and other Pacific Islands. It's cooling down now but I was reminded of our first arrival in Miami when we got off the plane in Auckland earlier today. It was like walking into a sauna.
I have heard people complain for years that Christmas has been commercialised. I have always brushed the complaints aside, considering them grinch-like. Not so this year. We visited two beautifully decorated places last night. The first one had pretty lights and themed rooms full of santa dolls and other Christmassy toys. There was a small nativity scene set up in one corner inside and another outside. We drove across the city of Christchurch and out into the country until the traffic brought us to a halt. We parked and walked about a kilometre or more, (half a mile), We paid our $5 each and enjoyed the display of lights and themed spaces. None of us saw any reference to the birth of Jesus, the reason for the season. We drove into the city and became disorientated as we traversed central city streets with no familiar landmarks. It felt very strange to remember we had visited the library here, shopped there, and eaten at restaurants where no building exists now. Our driver grew up in the city, John spent his early years there and we have visited often. We all felt sad. There are many signs of new life but demolition and ground testing continue. Christchurch is a brave city struggling to find it's feet.
|THIS FAMILY COLLECT DONATIONS FOR CHARITY.|
THIS YEAR THEY GO TO THE BRAIN INJURY TRUST
The next photos were on a farm out in the country.
|THE QUEUE TO ENTER STRETCHED A COUPLE OF HUNDRED METRES, OR MORE, ALONG THE DARK COUNTRY ROAD|
Special structures designed for the light show
I stumbled over broken pavement to photograph the Christmas Tree in Latimer Square