Full disclosure: I intended to get this post out well before Christmas day, but due to the busy nature of the holiday season, I lacked the time and creative energy necessary to create this post the way I wanted to. So although Christmas time is technically over now and the new year is just around the corner, the true message and the real joy of Christmas always remains relevant – to remember the birth of Jesus. Thus, I have decided to push on with my very late Christmas post regardless.
Christmas time is always one of the most beautiful times of the year. It’s a time when family and friends gather together, thoughtful gifts are shared, we adorn our homes with ornaments, we prepare festive food to share, and when we get outside, all the streets and stores glisten with bright Christmas decorations…
Jesus Is The Reason For The Season
As wonderful as the food and decorations we’re surrounded by at Christmas time are, the real cause for celebration and joy at Christmas time is the birth of Jesus.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.
John 3:16 – King James Version (KJV)
The verses quoted above explain why Jesus was sent to our world in a perfectly simple way. The truth of this message is as important every day as it is at Christmas time, so it is important to remember where all the beauty of the season stems from, along with keeping the above words in mind long after the season changes.
In Australia, Christmas time lands in Summer, which means our festive treats usually have to be hot weather appropriate. An Aussie Christmas usually means a lot of seafood, wine and something sweet like a trifle or pavlova. When the weather is as hot as it gets here, chilled wine and fruit-based desserts definitely hit the spot (even though it was a little wet this Christmas and much less hot than usual, the seafood and chilled wine still worked just fine.)
My Christmas celebration this year involved a feast with my family on Christmas Eve, early morning Church on Monday, followed by another feast with my Husband’s side of the family later that day. My family on my mother’s side is Spanish, and my husband’s side of the family is Greek, but of course, we’re all living in Australia; This creates an awesome and diverse mix of food that we’re able to enjoy with our family throughout the Christmas weekend.
On my family’s Christmas table we had Spanish omelette (tortilla), prawns, chorizo croquettes (croquetas), a big mix of salads, and this year, a special treat of Moreton Bay Bugs. At our Greek family Christmas feast, we had another big selection of food, along with more souvlaki on pitas, many more salads, and some amazing Greek desserts. Nick and I are incredibly lucky to be part of two big families full of great cooks, so Christmas time for us always means a lot of food.
Along with our family dinners, there were many store-bought Christmas treats which I bought to share between us and with family or friends. The ability to get such a wide variety of food from around the world is one of the things I love most about Sydney, and at Christmas time that opportunity only grows; with great new ranges of treats from around the world in stores all over the city.
A small shop where I found a lot of the great Christmas treats is called Gerwurzhaus and it is located in The Strand Arcade – they have a really unique range of ingredients, treats and spices. Some of my favourite picks were their Advent Christmas Tea and their gingerbread flavoured French caramels, which were delightful. They have a wonderful range of specially blended herbs and spices all year round, so though Christmas is over now, you should still drop by if you’re a fan of good food, or if you’re an adventurous home cook.
My Favourite Christmas Treat
My favourite of the bunch would have to be the Greek honey biscuits, melomakarona. There’s nothing else like these biscuits – they’re soft, honey-soaked and topped with nuts. Pictured next to them in the photo are the Kourabiethes, another classic Greek biscuit enjoyed over the holiday period (made into little Christmas Trees by Christophers Cake Shop in the photo above). There’s plenty of recipes online if you want to make either of the biscuits, but I get mine from Christophers Cake Shop at Miranda (they have locations all over Sydney) and lucky for us – they sell them all year! If you like soft sweet biscuits with nuts, you will love these.
So, even though Christmas day has come and gone for another year, try to remember what Christmas is really all about and why we should be thankful. As nice as the food and festive treats are, If you believe in Jesus, the joy of the season doesn’t end when the holiday period is over but rather, remains with you always.
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6 – King James Version (KJV)
If you want to learn more about what Christmas is about, looking past all the glowing decorations and distractions of the season, you should try visiting your local church. Sydney has so many wonderful churches, so it’s likely that you have one nearby. Though all of the specific Christmas services in churches are over now, the message you will have received on those days remains the same every Sunday: Jesus Christ is our Lord and saviour, and through His life and word, showed us the way to peace and salvation. Another thing to note: If you don’t have a Bible at home or you prefer to read on a screen, the internet is our friend when it comes to finding Bible verses easily – so a quick search for Bible verses about Christmas will lead you in the right direction to learn more about why Jesus was born into our world and why He died for us.
A belated Merry Christmas to all reading this, and God Bless!