Back from Queensland now and in the more temperate Auckland climate. Christmas Day was hot and clear with a big thunderstorm in the evening. The carol service put on by the resort was more like a hour in a shopping mall than a time spent singing “religious” songs. Mostly contemporary jingles with a group of (loud) singers and dancers up front to jolly the crowd along. Odd really to sing songs of snow, winter and other northern hemisphere things while sitting on the lawn in shorts and tee-short feeling rather hot and slapping the odd mosquito. (Still the kids enjoyed it).
Christmas Day we went to a service in the open air chapel. Great possibilities for all sorts of things but the service was pretty trad and formulaic. A (retired?) minister ran the show and spoke about grace which was good. A couple of readings (one from Isaiah and one from John 1) were read by children (but too quietly for the outside venue) and a couple of people were asked to come out of the congregation to read prayers of intercession. The odd thing for me about the service was the constant referral to the Christmas story in Bethlehem yet that story wasn’t actually ever told in the service (the readings didn’t refer to it directly) so there was a sense for me of disconnection between the readings, prayers and the nativity story and its implications that I was expecting. However I did enjoy going to the chapel with many of my family as that doesn’t happen at all very often with us all around the globe.
Anyway, we had a great holiday celebrating my Dad’s 60th birthday and had a great family Christmas too. Hope yours went well too.