Friends, as many of you know I'm currently in Australia visiting family and friends. I share this evening a few photos taken over the past couple of days, including some of my family's celebration of Christmas at the home of my parents in Port Macquarie.
Above: We had a lovely Christmas Day lunch yesterday at my parents' home. In this photo I'm pictured with my younger brother Tim, sister-in-law Ros, nieces Layne and Sami, and Rory, my nieces' cousin on their mum's side of the family.
Right: My Mum and Dad on Town Beach – Christmas Day 2010. The night before, my parents and I attended a very spirited Christmas Eve Mass with the community of St. Agnes Catholic Church.
Left: With my younger brother Tim on Boxing Day.
My older brother and his family will be visiting Port Macquarie from Melbourne in the New Year.
Above: What Aussie Christmas celebration would be complete without pavlova for dessert! Thanks, Ros!
Above (from left): Sami, me, Dad, Mum, Layne and Tim.
Above: After Christmas Day lunch . . . a walk along the beach – Town Beach to be precise!
Above: Sami, Layne and Rory (with some cormorants behind them!).
Above: The view from my bedroom balcony at sunrise today, Boxing Day 2010.
I'll close with excerpts from The Sunday Telegraph's Barclay Crawford's summation of the Christmas messages delivered yesterday by various leaders important in the lives of Australians. My American friends in particular may find this of interest.
In the Commonwealth's 60th year, Queen Elizabeth II [in her annual televised Christmas address] encouraged members to continue discussing important issues facing the world today, saying: "It is important to keep discussing issues that concern us all. There can be no more valuable role for our family of nations.
[Australian Prime Minister] Julia Gillard, meanwhile, hoped Christmas 2010 would be a special one for Australian families, whether they were spending time in church, with family, on the beach, or helping others.
Ms Gillard called on the nation to spare a moment to acknowledge the sacrifices of 10 Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan. . . . "They died for us and I know every Australian has a special thought for their partners and children, their families and their mates this Christmas. We don't forget," she said.
Opposition leader Tony Abbott also appealed to Australians to think of those less fortunate. He added: "I hope we will especially think of all of those people who make our country safer, stronger and more prosperous."
. . . In Sydney, [Roman Catholic] Cardinal George Pell used his Christmas message to express gratitude for the breaking of the drought and welcomed the canonisation of Mary MacKillop earlier this year. "Much, indeed most, of Australian life is good and those blessed with prosperity . . . should strive to spread good cheer to those who are battling."
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Bush Christmas (2009)
An Australian Christmas (2006)