Mandy's Musings

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Christmas Meme

Ali tagged me for this Christmas Meme.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial? No tree.

3. When do you put up your tree? See above - but with Mum & Dad it was always 1 December, their wedding anniversary.

4. When do you take the tree down? Hard to take down something you don't put up!

5. Do you like eggnog? Never tried it, but the thought of drinking eggs turns my stomach.

6. Favourite gift received as a child? I seem to remember birthday gifts more clearly than Christmas ones, although I am pretty sure my blue bike with the stremers coming out of the handlebars and basket on the front being a Christmas present from when I was about 8.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes. A hand-made one by my creative friend Karyn.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Mum & Dad - they have everything they need and don't like 'stuff'.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My brother - he can always use another Hawaiian shirt.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hotel stationary - you know, the complimentary stuff you get when you stay somewhere, all wrapped up!

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, but probably won't get to sending them this year so an email might have to do.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? I cried during 'Miracle at Christmas' ... hopeless I know!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Generally start during the January sales. It's a habit I get from my mum, who delivered our extended family presents, all wrapped, in March. I think she has already finished shopping for next year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes.

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? I don't really eat most of the traditional Christmas food - no pudding or cake for me, I don't eat turkey or seafood ... but I love the summer fruits, especially Mangoes and Cherries.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? No tree - but clear lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? This year it is 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'. Although I'll have to say that Emma Pask singing 'The first Noel' with James Morrison on the piano was pretty impressive, but I'm not sure that your favourite song can be somthing you've only heard once.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? 3 yearly rotation with Mum, Dad and Kevin - a year in Qld (last year); a year off (this year, staying in Sydney); a year in Sydney (next year)

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes (embarrasing I know!).

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? These questions all presume you have a tree! But if I had one it would be a star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? I managed to convince Mum & Dad when I was about 18 that if I got home from church on Christmas Eve after midnight that we could each open one present, because it was actually Christmas day ... but really we do all the pressies in the morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? That people seem to have lost the sense that Christmas is actually all about CHRIST.

23. What is the "corniest" family tradition you do, or miss doing? We always got our stocking as a pillow case at the end of the bed, full of wrapped presents. Kevin and I always got an equal number of presents in total, and the often matched - when I got a book about Sam Riley, he got a hardcover Batman book. But we also always got an orange and chocolate coins. Mum & Dad kept up the tradition of the stockings even after we moved out for a number of years. I remember being most distressed when they forgot the orange one year (I think I was 26 at the time!)

24. Ugliest Christmas Decoration ever invented? Reindeer made of lights that go on the top of the house.

25. Which looks the best, theme trees or homey trees? Homey trees.

26. What does Christmas mean to you? Matt 1:21 "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

I'll tag Byron; Michael and Ros

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Hang in there

I knew I hadn’t been good at blogging recently, but hadn’t realised that it had been over 2 months since I last said anything.

Of late, I’ve had a few ‘blasts from the past’ where I’ve reconnected with a few people I haven’t seen for years. And yes – Facebook is at least partly responsible! It’s reinforced to me how much we are influenced and shaped by the people around us. In a sleepless night while I was tidying up I discovered one of my ‘memory boxes’, full of letters and cards. One of the letters on top was written in about 1993, from someone who sadly today is not living as a Christian. Here’s what it said:

"Smile! God loves you


Problem solved.

• When your anger gets to much and your gonna explode, say Galatians 5:22-23 in your head, even out loud
• Implement the stuff you learn at Youth Group and Church into your life
• Forget about pleasing your mum and dad, forget about pleasing your brother, friends, uncles, aunties, even yourself. Do what pleases the Lord. E.g. Mark 12:31, Luke 6:35, Luke 10:27, Matthew 5:43, Matthew 5:44, 1 Corinthians 13:8. Stuff the world! You’re “dead to sin” if you are a Christian, so live like it. Don’t just say it, do it.
• Friends, who needs them! They let you down, forget to call, don’t show up, cause petty arguments, steal boyfriends, borrow clothes etc. You’ve got the bestest friend in the whole entire universe in your corner who loves you beyond belief. Talk to him, draw close to him and he’ll craw close to you, submit yourself to him and things will fall into place. So be patient (James 5:6).


It was really hard to read, knowing where the person now stands before God. Here is someone who had a significant impact upon me as a Christian, who is now living in active rebellion towards him. As a result, I’ve been reflecting on the way that our gracious Father works through others to teach us more about himself, and the way that we have a role to play in spurring one another on to love and good deeds (I’ve been thinking about Hebrews and the warning passages a fair bit).

Let me leave you with Hebrews 3:12-4:13:
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. [1] 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God [2] would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

[1] 4:2 Some manuscripts it did not meet with faith in the hearers
[2] 4:8 Greek he

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