Tag Archives: Christmas

Rediscovering Wonder this Christmas

I wonder what pastime or hobby you used to love doing when you were a kid at primary school, but now that you’re older, you no longer do at all?

My friend Scottie used to absolutely love playing cricket when he was a little kid. But as soon he got to High School he didn’t make the rep team, and so he just stopped playing, and started doing other things he could be more successful at. But still to this day he misses it.

You see, Scotty has this theory. He thinks that when you’re a kid, you spend most of your time doing the things that bring you joy and fill you with wonder. But when you get to High School people often stop doing those things, and instead focus on the stuff that other people tell them you’re good at instead.

When I was a little kid, I used to love painting, flying kites, and making model aeroplanes. Sure, I was horrible at all three – but all of those things filled me with this life affirming sense of wonder at the world. And yet, once I started High School, I quickly realised none of those things would help me progress up the social ladder of my school, and so I just stopped doing them. And yet to this day, I still miss painting, kites and model aeroplanes.

Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish poet with a huge beard and even huger eyebrows  famously wrote “Never once in my life did I ask God for success or wisdom or power or fame. I asked for wonder, and he gave it to me.”

But it’s funny how as we get older our sense of Christmas wonder can shrivel up – worn down by the stresses of work, the geo-politics of Christmas dinners, and the hum-drum of the domestic grind. I talk to so many people who are either burnt out or bored (or both!) as they wind up the year and head into Christmas.

One of my favourite contemporary religions artists is a chap called Scott Erickson (www.instagram.com/scottthepainter) who’s been doing a fantastic series throughout Advent, and he’s introduced me to this wonderful word; “Ostrananie”.

It means the art of making what’s familiar unfamiliar again. He says “This advent season I’m going to attempt to do this with our seasonal narratives that have mostly been developed by marketing and commercialism. Because in the unknowing of it all, the doorway of wonder will open up… and hopefully we may catch a glimpse of the wonder of the Divine in our midst right now.”

Now that’s the kind of Christmas I’m in desperate need of this year!  So maybe this summer break it’s time you got in touch with some wonder filled hobby or activity you used to do as a kid – as a sort of spiritual practice of becoming like a child again? Maybe it’s time you were intentional about making space for wonder?

So if you’re looking for me this holidays, you’ll find me on Ilam Fields flying a kite badly with my kids, with a huge smile on my face.

Rev Spanky Moore
Senior Ecumenical Chaplain | University of Canterbury


Christmas is almost here! Join us for a brief but festive after-work gathering for UC Staff on the ground floor of the Ernest Rutherford before we head our separate ways for the summer break.

Wednesday 11 December, 5-6pm in Ernest Rutherford

We’ll have musical offerings from The Erskine Singers, the UC Waiata group, and Alice McLean. We’ll be serving up mulled wine and Christmas mince pies… and if you’d like, you’re welcome to bring a can or three to donate to the City Mission as well. Presented by UC Chaplaincy.

UC Mailroom/Warehouse Update

The mailroom will stop receiving items at midday on Friday 21 December 2018 and will be closed from 2pm on that day.

We will reopen at 10am on Monday 07 January 2019.

For urgent matters  during this time, call 027 809 7109. 

Please be advised that courier companies will not be delivering on site during these dates. Retrievals from depots can only be made in exceptional circumstances, and are not guaranteed.  

If you are expecting anything perishable or time sensitive during this period, please contact us before 12pm Friday 21 December on 03 369 2442 or by emailing logistics@canterbury.ac.nz

Thank you for your assistance. 

Merry Christmas from the UC Logistics team, we look forward to seeing you all in the New Year. 

UC Christmas e-Cards are here

Spread some Christmas cheer – UC Christmas e-cards are now online.

Sending one of these beautifully designed cards is an easy way to thank your colleagues, and those you have worked with throughout the year, and wish them all the best for the festive season.

Simply follow this link, select from one of four card options – including the one above – write your message, add the recipients’ contact details and send.  It couldn’t be easier.

Meri Kirihimete Merry Christmas