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Christmas Eve 2022

It’s Christmas Eve. We’ve had a warm dinner and have settled in to watch A Muppets Christmas Carol.

In the oven is my second attempt at a pavlova because my first came out undercooked. The oven was too cool.

It’s our fourth Christmas in this country. And things are starting to feel comfortable. They aren’t as raw and new as before.

I look down at our son. Now a tall lanky 16 year old with skinny legs that swallow the pavement when he walks.

And I am thankful he still wants to spend time watching the muppets with his mum and dad.

First day out wearing contact lenses. He said it felt strange. “I don’t think I’ve gone out of the house without glasses since I was nine..” he said.

Not long now until he’s off on his own adventure called life.

As I sit, one eye on the muppets and another on the pavlova, I remember Sarah Kay’s Ted Talk prompt to think of three things that are true.

I landed on the following:

  1. God is good. And he never ceases to be good.
  2. I love my family
  3. Time is unstoppable and moves relentlessly on

Maybe they’ll be poems in the new year. We’ll see.

The timer on my phone goes off and I rush to the oven. I need to quickly turn it off and let the pavlova cool completely in there.

Pavlovas are delicate beasts. For them to form perfectly, to be crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, the oven temperature must be just right.

Not too cool. Not too hot. Perfect for this goldilocks of desserts.

Photo was taken just before the mess of egg whites and sugar went inside the oven

When the base is cooked, I’ll dress it with whipped cream and berries and serve it to friends on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day. That’s only a sleep away. We have friends coming tomorrow.

One of them hates Christmas. And doesn’t want the day to be full of Jesus. I’m a little worried because Christmas to us is all about Jesus.

Another is alone with his baby. His wife is a nurse working for the NHS. She did a stint in a COVID ward back before vaccines existed and now it looks like she’s working on Christmas Day.

There will also be a young woman we don’t know joining us. 21 years old, she is travelling across Europe and found herself alone in this big city at Christmas. My husband is good friends with her parents.

My husband is cooking. Duck, turkey, and pork. And he has planned the timing of things down to the last second.

I am praying it will be a good day for all. That they will feel loved and welcomed.

Which goes back to the stress over my quest for the perfect pavlova. I look at the crust. It’s a light brown instead of snow capped mountains white.

I’m thinking of trying again when I read this quote from Adam Liaw in the Sydney Morning Herald.

A few cracks is entirely normal and should never be considered a failure, and even if it’s brown, sunken and full of cracks take heart in knowing that even the biggest pavlova fails are absolutely delicious.

Stay the course and don’t be tempted to switch tack to an Eton Mess or something like that.

Serve your pavlova proudly, because you only ever serve pavlova to people you love.

And I think that’s good enough for me.

For those already celebrating Christmas, I hope it will be one full of love and deep joy. I pray it won’t be a lonely one. That you’ll know this is the day we celebrate God being with us. He is with you too!

For others who are waiting expectantly for Christmas, I pray it will be a wonderful day. Even if it turns out to be miserable, please know that you are loved. Greatly. By the creator who gave you life.

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