To all my blog readers out there, this posting comes with my warmest wishes for peace, hope and joy this Christmastime, and a prayer that these same blessings will stay with you and yours right through the year.
This was on the front page of our local weekly newspaper "The Norfolk Islander" this weekend.
This exquisite mother-of-pearl carving is on the end of one of the pews at our lovely St Barnabas' Chapel. It was done by the students of the Melanesian Mission, under the guidance of Doctor Codrington and would be about 100 years old.
On the opposite side is a similar Nativity scene, but it is not in such sharp relief.
Almost all of the pews have lovely shell work set into the ends, but these are the most beautiful. The others mostly feature Polynesian and and Celtic designs. The Reredos, some of which you can see in the Crib scene below, also features some magnificent carving and shell work.
In the days leading up to Christmas, we have been playing a beautiful recording of Handel's "Messiah" in the Chapel each afternoon. It has been a wonderful opportunity to escape the heat and hustle, and sit quietly for a while and appreciate and enjoy the less tangible and commercial delights of Christmas.
We set up a small Christmas Tableau. Our Chaplain Rod fashioned a rather rustic manger, and Bernie and I found a young pine just the right size to go behind. It only called for very simple decoration - a draping of the finest tinsel, and a star at the top.
The little picture here shows one of the flower arrangements in the Chapel. I do not even know who is on the roster this month, but she has arranged some lovely little glass sparkles among the white flowers...they are hard to see in the photo. But it is a lovely touch, and just one of the many special things so many people do to spread joy and goodwill to others.