I, Larry Dinkins, stayed in a Bangkok Hotel and was amazed to find a Christmas tree had been put up in the lobby since early November (long before my Thai church put up their tree). When I asked the manager the meaning of the tree, I received the same response that I have received for the last 42 years of my ministry with the Thai, “I don’t know.”
You see Christmas trees in most every mall and many businesses around Thailand during this season. I always get a kick out of hearing “Jingle Ben” playing over a loudspeaker as I shop. The Thai associate Christmas trees with “Farang Pi Mai” (Foreign New Year) and they especially like the idea of decorating with bright lights and the giving of presents. Also, many have been invited to Christmas celebrations in churches where they hear the Christmas story of the Jesus being born in a manger. For the Thai, the baby Jesus lying in a manger is a much more acceptable and less threatening portrayl of Christianity than when we celebrate Easter with its emphasis of Jesus dying as an adult on a wooden cross. It is unfortunate that the Thai equate Christianity with a Christmas tree, rather than the tree on which He was crucified. The positive aspect of Christmas is that it acts as a conversation bridge to deeper discussions of the real reason why Jesus was born as a man on earth. Pray that Thai churches will take full advantage of the many opportunities there are to share the good news not only of Jesus birth, but also of His death, burial and resurrection.
The world’s attention has been drawn to the passing of a Great Monarch: Queen Elizabeth. However, her reign was just 88 more days than King Bumiphol of Thailand and so it seemed fitting to remember his reign as well.
The United Kingdom was shocked today by the loss of a beloved monarch, Queen Elizabeth. She reigned just 88 more days than King Bumiphol of Thailand, making both of them the longest reigning monarchs of their respective countries. Both represented the quintessence of duty and selfless service and both are sorely missed. It also marks the passing of an era with both being members of the “Great Generation” who started their reigns after WWII and then amazingly lived through five successive generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Y (millennials), Z and now Alpha. Queen Elizabeth was a true believer in Jesus Christ and expressed her faith on many occasions, “”For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people, of whatever faith or none.” The passing of Queen Elizabeth should remind all Christians to pray first and foremost as Paul exhorted Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:2.
“Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority” (1 Tim 2:1-2)
Thus, as believers we need to also pray according to these verses for their successors who are very similar in age: King Charles (73) and King Vajiralongkorn (70).