So the sun has set on 2006. I had some thoughts on Christmas that I might have posted if I'd spent more time online and/or been able to express them in a way that didn't say something I didn't mean. Now, though, I think they can wait until next December. After all, the end of the year follows hard on the heels of Christmas, and next Christmas is already this year!
After a great Christmas Day and a strange week when many things were on holiday, we reached New Year's Eve. My first conversation of the new year was that afternoon, when I happened to be online and talking to someone who was in Sydney, and so had already passed midnight. Pointing out that "it's still 2006 here" is just that little bit stranger than telling people it's still Sunday evening for us, or something like that.
Then, to see the new year in, we went to an event at church together with the Russian-speaking congregation. After some food, there was a quiz, which featured two rounds of biblical questions from Yuriy, including his usual riddles, and two science rounds from Dan. One of the latter was quite easy for anyone remembering their high school science lessons (probably quite difficult if you didn't like them!), but the other was a complete joke, with all questions relating to aerodynamical engineering! I'm not sure everyone saw the humour, and I think our team were the only ones to even guess the two answer questions, getting one of these right and guessing another where the answer was zero.
After that we had a fast and furious game of relay-Pictionary. We managed to win this as well as the quiz, and enjoyed the box of chocolates we received as a prize. After this, similar quiz a few weeks ago (Amy and I were on the winning team then, too), I'm starting to think maybe Australians do have a tendency to take anything competitive just a little bit too seriously!
While this was happening, around us there were more cross-year conversations from China and then Germany, and then at 11:30, we had a service and time of prayer. It was good to pray together and direct our thoughts from Philippians 4, but I particularly appreciated Winston's solo. He sang a song which appropriately talked of the end of a day, and the sunset moving from continent to continent. It reminded us of those who sunset had already left behind and those who were yet to finish their day or year worshipping God, while he faithful whatever the time or place. As Psalm 113 says, "From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised."