Monday, 20 December 2010

Getting ready for Christmas

Tonight the news showed the devastating snow storms in the northern hemisphere: Heathrow closed. European cities affected. More falls of snow predicted means a white Christmas but certainly an unhappy one for many people.

And here in Australia? After years of drought and water storage supplies drying up, the great Murray-Darling River system basin in dire need, the rain has come again with a vengeance.  Throughout large parts of mainland Australia we have devastating floods and even unusual snow in our summer on the high mountains in New South Wales and Victoria. Thankfully, Tasmania has missed out - this time! 

During the first week of November when Ray and I were driving up through almost the centre of New South Wales on that trip I've shared in my last two blocks, we stopped for a cuppa and a break at several places that have since been under water. At one place we had delicious scones with jam and cream out in the open at an information centre right next to a river.

There had already been a lot of rain back in the mountains even in early November.  Perhaps it is my writer curiosity and the habit of taking note of things I might one day be able to use in a story, but felt compelled to take this photo of those sandbags and that rising river.
The sandbags went for quite a long way up and around the buildings and the locals told us there was more water on the way. This is one town we know has since been inundated with flood water, and we are left wondering if more sandbags had been rushed in to try and protect some very valuable historical items in their small museum.

While for most of us most of the time, Christmas is an exciting, wonderful time of contacting family, old friends as well as new ones, of receiving and giving gifts, of enjoying a huge party, there are also many for whom Christmas is one of the saddest times of the year.  Many, many homes have been inundated, all Christmas preparations under water, people evacuated and of course several drownings. Then of course there is the horrible accidents on our roads that claim so many lives over the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Our family had one savage reminder way back when I was in my mid-teens that tragedies can strike at any time. My dear Dad's funeral was held on Christmas Eve and it was a very surreal Christmas Day the day after for my mother, older brother, younger sister and another brother only just ten years old. Christmas had always been such a wonderful time for our close family but everything changed after that year. For over fifty years now, it is a reminder to me that for some it is indeed not a time of joy and the peace we love to sing about. This year there are those who mourn loved ones, those who have no Christmas "cheer" and those who are homeless, not only after these kinds of disasters but week after weary week during the year.

So, while we are busy decorating our own safe homes, wrapping up those gifts and cooking that Christmas cake, don't let's forget to pray for others less fortunate than ourselves, to be prepared to go out of our way to care for those for whom Christmas is a time of sadness. May it be that we will grasp every opportunity to point folk we meet to the Christ of the cradle who also became the Christ of the cross. He longs for us to know Him as our only safety, our only true souce of peace, hope and joy - if we will only go to Him in faith and love.


  1. A great reminder, Mary. Thanks for that. It is good to remember those in need at this time. God bless. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family. XXOO

  2. And heard this morning vast areas of Queensland are flooded, imcluding where my family and especially my brother live on the Darling Downs near Dalby. So much danger around the world with the weather this year as well as "war and rumours of war." So we do need to be so thankful for our own Christmas! Thanks Amanda.