Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Christmas in Ratchaburi

“Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas.”
Dale Evans Rogers

Celebrating Christmas in Thailand is quite strange. It’s not a public holiday, and even churches only have a Christmas service on Christmas day if the 25th happens to be on a Sunday.(Otherwise it's the Sunday before or after that a Christmas message is shared at the regular church service). There are big dancing Santa Clause mannequins in the supermarkets, complete with Christmas music (usually the same old cd played in every supermarket all day long for the entire month of December), and some fake Christmas trees and Christmas décor on display.
This will be my 8th Christmas in Thailand and being here each year has made me think a lot about the real meaning of Christmas. I do celebrate on the 25th of December, but to me it really isn’t much more special than any other day anymore. I now consider Christmas an extraordinary opportunity to share God’s love with other people. Every day is an opportunity to share God’s love and celebrate what God did for us through his Son Jesus, but Christmas opens a special door for us to take the Gospel to those who have never heard it, and to bring gifts to those who have may never have received a gift before. 

For the past few years in Ratchaburi, we have travelled around to different places in and around our province throwing Christmas parties for different groups of people. We have been to many schools; the local university; a large village; the local prison; a home for mentally handicapped children; a community of Burmese laborers; slum areas in town and worked alongside many of the local churches to help them run their own Christmas parties. 

 This year we will be running 2 Christmas parties of our own. The first will be on the 10th of December in the Burmese community, and the second on the 20th of December at the home for mentally handicapped children. We will be helping with the organization of many of the others that the churches will be running. On Christmas day, we will also be sharing the message of Christmas on the military radio station.

We usually collect second hand clothes for the Christmas party in the Burmese community and also collect donations of non-perishable foods and toothpaste, shampoo etc (or monetary donations to purchase such items). We also provide a meal and some special gifts for each location that we host a Christmas party at. If you would like to be a part of
helping us to do that this year, you can contribute online by clicking here Donate towards YWAM Ratchaburi's Christmas parties or contact us for more details on other ways to give. (If you donate online, please be sure to state the purpose of the donation as "Christmas party".) Every little bit makes a difference!

If you are in Thailand and would like to join in the fun – please come and join us – we would love to have you!

 Our prayer over the Christmas season is that, in the heart of everyone that hears the Christmas message of God’s love and hope for them, a seed will be planted that God would water and cause to grow. Please pray with us.

Christmas began in the heart of God.  It is complete only when it reaches the heart of man.

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