HOW I DO CHRISTMAS AS THE ONLY CHRISTIAN AROUND HERE
First, the setting: Pramote and I live in Ban Den village about an hour from the center of Chiang Mai. Ban Den is a community of about 500 people of whom 499 are Buddhist including Pramote. There are no Christians in Pramote’s family either. We are active in village life.
How we do Christmas is never the same twice.
We decorate. Our collection of Christmas lights, trees, and articles has grown. Our house is viewed by all who pass. After 15 years our pretty decorations are expected. Pramote loves doing this in time for his birthday on December 12. The lights stay up until New Year’s Day. This is a “gift” of lights and color for our neighbors and relatives.
Children are special. Christmas is on Saturday this year, so we will have all the village children stop by for hot dogs and ice cream. Last year we passed out bags of goodies to children on their way to school. A few years ago we conducted an annual Christmas Party for the children in our village school – but the school closed.
Party time. Two years ago we had a day-long open house with noodles and treats for children at noon, lunch for 20 priests and novices, and then a buffet supper for friends, relatives, and neighbors. Before supper we had an informal Christmas worship service for those interested. I dressed up as a type of Father Christmas (see the picture attached to this account). This year, due to COVID, we are having four smaller affairs, two on Pramote’s birthday, and two on Christmas Day.
How I do Christmas has varied from year to year. On Christmas morning Pramote and I look forward to opening a box from daughter Julie now living with her family back in the USA; we do this in view of each other via the Internet. As for the village, somehow we do something nice for all the children around here, we have a party for all the family members who can come, and we let the village know it’s Christmas. Christmas has gained attention over the years. It’s easier than it used to be to say “It’s Christmas” and have people smile. When you’re the only Christian for miles around it’s best not to become attached to one way of celebrating.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.