Christmas

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death & oranges


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There wasn’t anything I wanted for Christmas (as you may have previously read), but as the day drew near there was something I really wanted to do…

green-funeral1

A couple of days ago we buried my Grandmother. I heard stories of how she left a pretty well-to-do life in England & came with my Grandfather to New Zealand after the War.

They roughed it a while,  getting electricity one Christmas. Another highlight was finally getting a washing machine & not having to do it by hand. Eventually moving into a house my Granddad built, and continued to build while they lived in it.

 

It’s a world so far removed from today, where kids move out of home & HP/finance their way into having everything in an instant that their parents took a life time to accumulate.

 

I have a lot of happy memories of that home…

it was always more than a house.

 

Orange

Recently I was reading about a farmer who lived in the American Midwest during the 1930’s. He would get an orange for Christmas.

That was all.

He moved to California and on smelling all the oranges from the orange groves, thought he was in paradise.

 

So when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I eventually replied with, “an orange”.

I wasn’t sure if my request would be taken seriously, after all its summer & we live in a different time and oranges are in abundance. I have heard of some people still getting an orange, normally followed by much grumbling as that leaves less space in the stocking for sweets.

I’ve never had a Christmas orange. This morning I received five.

 

On a morning normally  dominated by the frantic tearing of Christmas paper, before quickly discarding & hurriedly moving onto the next, as if Santa would take the still-wrapped ones back at any moment…

cutting-oranges

I instead opened & slowly ate an orange.

Savoring every moment, being thankful for what I have,

for friends & family…

thinking of Christmas day without Grandma…

thinking of a farmer who moved to California & thought he was in paradise…

this christmas morning was paradise.

 

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’tis the season to be getting


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“what do you want for Christmas?”

nothing.

 

nothing? Yep, there is nothing I want… how strange.

 

But alas it takes no more than a quick visit to the mall or peruse through the Christmas mailers to fill my head with wants, ’tis the season to be giving getting after all.

Their is not much giving anymore.

If we’re not getting for ourselves we’re getting for others so that we may in return get. Or sometimes it’s a simpler transaction, just an exchange of cash, “go buy what you want”.

 

We give poorly, my mum is in Cambodia on a short missions trip with her school, so much of what was donated was junk, easier to donate than take it to the dump.

Even in our charity we keep the best for ourselves

So it’s on this rainy summers day I find myself with the time to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while, to help resist that consumerist-christmas urge, to downsize, to give.

 

 

WP_000742I pulled out all the clothes I hadn’t worn in the last couple of weeks and proceeded to sort & bag most.

Aware that we often give our leftovers, unwanted & junk, I chose to show no bias to those sentimental favorites…

I said sad goodbyes to C-web & MJ college jerseys, football favorites and items put aside deemed too special to wear.

 

 

Sometime after 25 T’s, 15 tops/jeans, jerseys, shorts, shoes and hats… I lost count. My goal was to give away 75%, I think I came close to that.

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17  bags later & it was off to various clothing bins & stores.

I didn’t do this to earn brownie-points with God or because I believe in some sort of cosmic karma, to earn kudos from friends or show you what a good person I am…

it’s the opposite, I’m not.

It’s because I so easily give in to the impulsive buy, the want it-need it-latest greatest and must have. This is my way of trying to resist that.

It’s because I believe in a God that has given so we may give… not so I can continue to get.

This is my confession, while others have suffered without, I have lived in abundance.

What I want for Christmas…

                                                        is to give.

 

 

 

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Boxing Day Sale! What I really need to buy is…


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.. some sense & normality.

I need this, you see, I’m not normal.  (yeah i’ve been a little slow to realize this)

I’m not sure when this happened or how, if it was a gradual process or it happened at birth, but there is  much which doesn’t make sense to me.

So many things which seem normal to everyone else.

Like Boxing Day Sales.

Because the one thing I need to do after the day I just got a whole lot of new stuff is to go shopping for even more new stuff, stuff that I need.

3 News did a short 2 min story on the Boxing Day Sales here (there’s a short ad first).

Can you believe that there were traffic problems! That some(1:04) had to wait for a park… for FIVE MINS! Outrageous! (1:16) No air-conditioning in our malls! In this day and age?! Disgusting!

It’s an absolute travesty that people have to wait longer than 5 minutes, or even in the heat for things they need…..

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Atheists, Gays, Politics & other non-family friendly Christmas tales…


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I must be a bit of a Grinch for posting this on Christmas day…

so maybe you should read it tomorrow.

It just happens that everyone is napping off Christmas lunch and I have had spare moment to finish this off.

 

 

I’ve found myself much more interested in politics than years past, partly as a result of it being an Election year,… and on the way to casting my vote I learnt a few things.

1) For 3/4 of my christian friends, being christian meant I couldn’t vote Green, to suggest so would be met with  a shocked gasp.

2) For 1/4 of my christian friends, if I didn’t vote Green I clearly didn’t love God.

3) I’m not Family Friendly. It’s true. It came as shock to myself, but if you have a family it’s best you keep them away from me.

4) It now appears as if the best Christian advocate within parliament is an atheist.

This video has been bouncing all over the place this last week,  it’s worth the investment of time. Dr. Norman (co-leader of the Greens), not only seems to understand more about aspects of Christianity than most christians do, but spoke more on them than I recall any “christian” politician ever doing.

Well said.

And surprisingly “family friendly” for a non-family friendly MP/Party.

Which brings me back to the shocking discovery that I’m not family friendly.

Along with all the other political stuff posted by my dear friends on Facebook one chart interested me in particular. It was a chart comparing all the party’s views on certain issues & awarding them smiley faces :)if they were family friendly towards the issue…

I didn’t get many smiley faces 😦

Lets take Gay marriage for example, to oppose it would earn a smiley face, to be for it or ambivalent towards it would earn a sad face or frown. Now maybe I’m just naive or ignorant, but how is gay marriage detrimental to the family?

Clearly I am naive, as for others, both here & around the world gay marriage is a huge issue. Big enough to yell abuse & wave angry signs, big enough to march on parliament. Yet strangely if you drop the “marriage” & call it something else, even if it’s essentially the same, this is not worth protesting about.

Big enough, that judging by the christian reaction its far more important than say,

poverty, neglect or child abuse,

no one marches on parliament for these glaring issues within our society. In fact friends who struggle to raise funds for volunteer organisations which work with kids from backgrounds of abuse & neglect would probably be better served by promising to transform these kids into placard-waving-anti gay protesters.

Can’t we check our priorities over what the big issues are, over what really is a threat to the family? I struggle to see how a gay couple are  worse for families than domestic violence.

Of course it’s easier to be anti gay than actually do something positive for a stranger, a struggler, someone marginalised or minimalized.

 

So while I may not be family friendly, I’m glad my family is friendly & I get to spend some time with them these holidays, some time thinking about my priorities, what I value, what I should be valuing…

Some time being thankful for a God who intervened in history, one who does care greatly with how we treat each other & the world around us. Thanks Dr.Norman, great sermon speech.