A few people have asked me what it was like celebrating Christmas in Thailand, so I thought I would share :)
To start the 'season', we threw a Christmas party for all of our friends we had made on campus. At the party, we talked a lot about why we celebrate Christmas, and who Jesus is. Most Thai students that I met thought Christmas was to celebrate the Christian new year. What an honor to share about Christ! Here is the Engineering group:
A lot of the churches go Christmas Carrolling, so on Christmas Eve we headed out with a group from our church to visit their families and friends. We carrolled for 4.5 hours! We went to 10 homes, and each had a snack for us!
One afternoon a local school invited us to come to their Christmas program. They gave each one of us a crown and we watched. It is interesting, because most Thais view Christmas just as a Western winter holiday. They started with a Christmas Penguin coming around with candy. Then a traditional Thai dance was performed, followed by our Christmas carols we had prepared, and lastly a hula hoop contest! What Christmas party isn't complete without hula hoops! At the end, we were able to talk about the Christmas story and share about Jesus' love with all these little ones:
We spent some time our last week on campus making Christmas cards to leave with our friends.
On Christmas day we went to church. Obviously Christmas isn't a cultural holiday at all, so only Christians celebrate. So, it is very centered around the church, and most churches had a Christmas day outreach. Our church had a Christmas service for the adults and guests, and outside there was a program and gifts for kids. Yes, those are Operation Christmas Child boxes. If you have ever filled one, you can know they go straight into the hands of very grateful children!
The church service focused around sharing the gospel very clearly. At the end, gifts we given away! Yes, a gift for every single person :)
Here is our church group, with Pastor Moses, and the Thai staff.
And our final Christmas celebration was a team gift exchange. The boys actually wrote a song for the girls and Ryan dressed up as Santa.
And we had a secret santa exchange with our Thai gifts.
And that was Christmas! Not many Christmas lights, decorations, and only one Santa...but I'm learning that it is Christmas just the same. Joy to the World, Our Savior Reigns!