Since we are used to colder weather, snow, etc for Christmas it does not seem like Christmas to us. And yet the merriment exists and the decorations abound. It makes me happy to see that people are preparing for Christmas. I love the music and the trees. It is nice to see the Christmas banners and many decorations.
We were in the city to see Elder Jenkins' eye doctor a few days back. This huge tree was the focal point of Martins Place. You can see just how huge it is as Elder Jenkins stands in front. We also helped a group of young school boys who wanted their picture in front of the tree.
Martins Place is a pedestrian street which is kind of cool. There are a lot of interesting buildings around that area and it seems like every time we are in town we find something new to see.
On the health front Elder Jenkins had a YAG laser procedure on his right eye this past week. Some time back he had cataract surgery but when he had the "water logged" cornea a few weeks ago a membrane grew over the new cataract lens. So the laser procedure has now removed the membrane and things are thankfully beginning go back to normal although his vision is not as good as he would like.
So grateful for good health insurance so we can just send in the receipts and have the medical expenses at least partially covered.
|This interesting decoration inside the Queen Victoria |
Mall which is a pretty high end mall.
Too pricey for me but beautiful architecture.
When we went back for a check up we found a great place for ice cream/sorbet. But we did not get it finished before getting back on the train so we walked to a bench in Hyde Park [I love this park!] to sit while we finished eating.
The day was so great! Good weather, slightly cloudy and nice breeze. Perfect!! We happened to sit by a woman who was an Australian federal law enforcement officer enjoying her lunch time. We had a nice conversation and of course she wondered why we were in Australia, our accents immediately gave us away, and how long we would be here. That of course brought up our mission. She was a Catholic girl but was happy to talk to us. She was so dismayed that her 14 year old nephew had asked her "so, is Christmas when Jesus died?". She could not believe that somehow he had lived in a Catholic upbringing and missed the whole point of the Nativity, etc. We gave her a card that references the #Light the World initiative. Don't know if she will go to mormon.org. But there definitely are good references about Jesus Christ and His teachings.
I have been thinking a lot about Christmas. Since we are so far from home and so removed from our normal Christmas activities, I have been thinking more about what Christmas really means to me. Christmas is a time of nostalgic memories. Isn't it interesting how memories from so long ago come readily to mind? My mind is flooded with memories from my early childhood, from when our children were small and growing bigger, and from times when we began to enjoy grandchildren. Some memories are good some are sad, but overall they make me happy.
Last week I listened as one of the Elders from our English class was practicing Silent Night for the Christmas Conference. He sang so beautifully it brought tears to my eyes. Perhaps that song means Christmas to me. I think that was the moment I really began to feel the 'Christmas Spirit'. How grateful I am for the Savior's birth. How grateful I am for the Savior and all He has done for me.
Life would have little meaning for me if I did not know of the Savior's love and the Plan of Salvation that allows families to be together forever. I am grateful for this time of year when we can all pause to remember Him and remember our Father in Heaven's Plan. All of the traditions and trappings are enjoyable - the music, the trees, the decorations, Santa Claus, etc. But what an incredible blessing it is to remember the true meaning of Christmas and the hope it brings into our lives!!!
Merry Christmas to you all!!! We send our love and best wishes to each of you hoping that the true meaning of Christmas will fill your hearts and bring you JOY!
|Looking out our office window towards |
We are looking forward to hugging some of our children and grandchildren in just two more days!!! They are coming to visit us for Christmas which will be such a special blessing and another great memory!
It has been interesting to observe the preparations for the Christmas lights around the temple and the campus. The displays changed this year necessitating electrical lines being laid and relocation of various items from past years.
Many workers worked many hours over several weeks to put eveything in order. The lights were lit 1 December and tours have been happening several nights per week showing the diorama of the Savior's birth and the art work and a video. Literally thousands of people have come to enjoy the experience.
Missionaries help with the tours and it will be our privilege to do so on December 24 and 30.
|This photo of the Christus is right in front of the door |
to the access to the art work and the video.
|Elder Jenkins by the sidewalk that leads|
to the temple
|The entrance to Buckland House and the mission office. |
The red and green lights are in a mesh that is draped over
|These lights face the busy Pennant Hills Road. The trees with |
the white lights are interesting because they are little tripods
draped with green mesh and lights. Very effective!
|I love this display of the Wise Men. |
They look so realistic and a fence is around them to try
to prevent children from mounting the camels for a ride.
|This diorama begins with the angel visiting Mary and telling her |
she will bear the Son of God, ending with the manger scene.
There is a recorded message that tells the story complete with
singing by the Tabernacle Choir. It really is very lovely.
|Lot of lights with the temple in the background.|
|The simple white lights accent the beauty of the temple. What a great privilege it is for us to live within a 5 minute walk of the temple so we can attend often.|
|These lights and this 'tree' are just outside of our office looking towards our window.|
|Our Senior Family Home Evening dinner was decorated extra nicely for Christmas.|
|The senior missionaries and the sisters were served first.|
|Then came the Elders. Have you ever seen so many white shirts?|
|This is a picture of all the missionaries with a few senior missionaries missing. I copied this from the Australia Sydney North Mission 2015-2018 Facebook page. There are other pictures on that page about the mission.|
|I think the changes are awesome!|
|Just a random photo of the flower shop at the entrance of our Carlingford Court Mall. It always makes my heart happy to see the flowers and is a nice way to "stop and smell the roses" from time to time.|
|Sometimes the skies are stormy.|
|And sometimes it rains - really HARD!|
|Random shot going up the escalator from the train.|
|Looking up is a good idea because there are some amazing architectural treats to see.|
|Fourth floor of the eye doctor's office is almost in line with the State Library.|
|I don't know what these are called but I loved the leaf texture and the blossoms.|
|More of the same bush with the Ibis birds which fascinate me.|
Just a lovely day in Hyde Park.
|Beautiful morning sky as we walked around the playing field.|
|Beginning of a sunset.|
|A stunning Sunset!|