Ut På Tur – Aldri Sur

Norwegians have an expression “Ut På Tur  – Aldri Sur“: Out on tour, never sour.

It’s largely true, especially when the weather is good. Today was one of those days, so Susanna and I went skiing. Whilst we have to wait nearly a month before we get an actual sunrise, we did have a beautiful moonset, and a beautiful pre-sunrise:




After skiing it was on to a lunch with a freind, and then rounding off with the Juletrefest (Christmas tree party) at church. A juletrefest is a very Norwegian tradition. The Finnsnes version includes carol singing, reading the Christmas gospel with an impromptu Christmas ‘tableau’, various solos, walking round the Christmas tree whilst singing carols and Christmas songs (NOT dancing, as was made clear to me – that would be pagan . . .), supper, and a visit from a very ‘international’ Saint Nicolas:

Here’s a video, which happily turned out to be out of focus. The song is about doing various weekday household activities (washing, ironing, cleaning, etc., which are obviously evenly divided between the sexes in modern Norway), before rushing to church on a Sunday (not so typical . . .).

Sunday In Space

Today is Romjulsøndag – literally the Sunday in the space after Christmas. For us, a light day work wise, and a noticeably lighter day outside. This, combined with a good snowfall yesterday, gave a good ski tour after morning worship. The colour in the clouds was amazing:


And this evening we had a quick walk around the pond:

Pictures taken on a phone, so not great quality.

Christmas 2 – 2015

Norway doesn’t do things by halves. Each of the major Christian holidays has two days of celebration (it used to be 3).

That meant that today we ‘had’ to have another Christmas dinner. This time with freinds at church. We had mostly traditional English food, although without ‘proper’ English sausages or parsnips (not available in this part of the world). Still, the company more than compensated.


Happy Christmas 2015

Happy Christmas / God Jul!

This was our childrem and youth choirs (a little low on numbers) at one of the Christmas Eve services in Finnsnes Church yesterday. We seem to be bucking the national trend, with increasing numbers attending. The first half of the sermon was delivered by one of the Bethlehem ‘census’ workers, pictured here in front of the biggest Christmas tree I’ve ever seen in a church (a gift from a church member who wanted it removing from his garden – we’re still trying to figure out how they got the star on the top!).




This was Christmas morning, 9am – the darkest Christmas we’ve experienced so far. It’s also supposed to be one of the warmest on record, with the comensurate lack of snow. Still at least it’s started to snow this evening, so just the outside chance of skiing tomorrow . . .


At home this evening after a wonderful afternoon and English Christmas dinner with freinds, all the better because we didn’t need to cook.Happy_Christmas_2015_005

Advent “Christingle” Vandring

It’s become a bit of a tradition here in Finnsnes to have a creative ‘prayer walk’ (bønnevandring) at the beginning of advent. The last couple of years Sarah has arranged it in the form of a labyrinth, but this year she has created an interactive craft and prayer ‘journey’ based on making a “Christingle”. You can read more about Christingles here and here.

The event is open Monday to Wednesday and has been well recieved by children and adults alike.

Whilst the poster is in Norwegian, everything else is ‘bi-lingual’:


Here is Sarah with one she prepared earlier, although the point of the event is more to engage with the ‘journey’ than the end product!


Yes, the lake in the background is frozen, but not thick enough yet for skating.