Ahh Christmas, everyone’s favourite time of year, or so they say; not one is ever the same, and they are never lacking in showing God’s love and grace. In four days we will be celebrating our third Christmas here in Chiang Mai, and we await God’s new vision of His care for us.
Moving to a new country is never an entirely pleasant experience, with leaving friends and familiar sights, but even more so when the country you are moving to is predominantly non-Christian and totally unfamiliar with anything you’ve ever experienced before. Thailand fits very well into both categories, as our previous stay in an Asian country had been in the Philippines, a mostly Roman Catholic country; not to mention the fact that most of us spoke the language there!
Least to say, holidays can be a very lonely time without friends or family. Especially considering the fact that we live in a nation that mostly does not know the Lord, and as such, we are deprived of the ‘Christmas Spirit’ that often permeates this time of year. Christmas decorations are not common place, and the lights that are seen are used to adorn spirit houses. TV specials and mall ornamentation are used to appeal to foreigners and made to make Thailand seem more ‘Western’. All of this condenses into an overall feeling of loneliness, isolation, and even alienation, as we are so different from everyone else.
But, God has shown his amazing grace in both of our Christmases here so far. With out first here we were blessed with carollers at our doorstep, not an ordinary happening in a Buddhist country. They were of course, not Thai people, but people who went to our church, but the resulting feeling was no less wonderful. In our Christmas of 2005 we were invited to not one, but two Canadian families, with one get together on Christmas Day, and the other the following. We were very surprised and did not honestly expect any such thing to happen. Two excellent examples of how God has let our Christmas time here be easier and more comfortable.
With this in mind, we are heartened and encouraged that He will bring about yet another surprise this coming Christmas. We also embolden you to remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Blessings to you all, and that He will show you His exceedingly abundant everlasting love that knows no end and endures forever.