I am not sure I will ever get used to a hot summer Christmas but I love that here in New Zealand, it signals the start of the season of relaxation. The long summer break from school for the children begins and signals an opportunity for us to live according to a different, more peaceful rhythm for a while. I also love that Christmas is more relaxed here. There is less pressure to spend, spend, spend and because of the hot weather, lots more emphasis on activities away from the TV!
It’s a time of year I love which is why I listen to Christmas music all year round whenever I am feeling grumpy or sad. To me this season represents an opportunity to reflect on the year that is coming to an end and to look forward with hope to the year ahead. I usually spend a lot of time writing and thinking and making plans for the future and I try to encourage our girls to do the same.
I have a wonderful life filled with love and light and this advent season seems like the right time to really reflect on my blessings. Our children keep asking me what I want for Christmas and it is lovely to be able to answer that I already have everything I ever wanted or hoped for.
If you haven’t done it before, this advent try making a list of all you are grateful for. I always start with family and friends, treasured memories and love and then move through various categories. Make a list of what you are grateful for in your home- fresh running water, electricity and a comfy bed are always top of my list and what you are grateful for in your place of work. For me this always includes my colleagues, my students, reliable internet access and the undercover car park. Try imagining what your day would be like without a kettle, flushing toilet, car, washing machine or phone and you may start to view these things in a new way.
It is so easy to focus on the negative, to see a glass half empty rather than half full and focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do. When my car broke down, I realised how lucky I was that every other day it had served me so well. Like most of us if we are honest, I am naturally inclined to focus more on what goes wrong, breaks and runs out than what I am blessed with every single day. I notice my health when I am sick or in pain, but don’t always remember to be grateful for good health the rest of the time.
I always miss my family and friends in the UK so much more at Christmastime but we are so lucky to be having this adventure on the other side of the world. Reflecting on this in the run up to Christmas aswell as on everything else I am so grateful for brings me such peace and joy and I hope it might do the same for you.