It all starts with the impressive scene that greets you when you wind your way from the small street that the Church is located on through the gate in the wall which surrounds the Church property. You are greeted by lights placed on and hanging from the Palm trees and this very large Merry Christmas Sign made from Styrofoam and painted red. The Sign must have been 20 feet long and 2-1/2 feet tall.
They had lined the entire hallway of church from the foyer all the way to the back of the building with painted cloth attached to the walls. The painting depicted Jerusalem type architecture and was meant to portray Israel at the time of Christ. It was replete with curved arched entrances. The play was a reenactment of the Christmas story with a family reading scriptures and actors on the stage portraying each individual scene. There was a Choir which sang several songs. The interesting part of the singing was that many of these Christmas songs are not in the Thai hymn book and have not been translated into Thai ...... so the choir sang in English. Even the main character a young women member of the “family” sang her solos in English. The actors did a marvelous job with their lines and the emotions they displayed. Lois was particularly impressed with the actor who portrayed Herod when the wise men came to visit him. He was exquisitely dressed with his wife standing beside him fanning him. When the three Wise men came in he was boisterous and the three wise men bowed to him - similar to what they do when they visit their King here in Thailand. The Bishopric played the part of the shepherds. They had four little children dressed in White with lambs head hats that were particularly cute. After the Angels appeared to the shepherds, they wanted to go and see the Christ Child they asked themselves --- what do we do with the sheep? One said let’s take them with us. So the four little kids tried to crawl across the floor on all fours while their long white costumes hindering their ability. The audience laughed at that scene. I was impressed with the actor who portrayed Gabriel when he visited Mary and then visited Joseph in a dream. He spoke with such emotion and it touched me. Even though I have head the words many times in English, I was very touched at hearing it in Thai that night. There were over 40 people involved in the production counting the choir, family and the actors in the vignettes.
For Dinner we were invited to the parking lot where they served McDonalds Pork and Beef Deluxe burgers. They also served small oranges, Punch and sheet cake. Plenty of food. I had never been to a ward party where they served McDonalds food before. Only In Thailand I guess.
It is deep into winter now as many of you in the United States are experiencing. We are also in the Northern Hemisphere - so it is also the cold season here. It has getting down to 70 degrees or so at night so it is very pleasant and was so Saturday night outside eating dinner.
The evening finished with many of the guests picking numbers from a container that matched a number attached to a wrapped gift that had ben prepared ahead of time. I think there were 80 or so numbered gifts to handout. It was fun to see the joy on their faces. We done. Well done.
I am attaching 3 YouTube videos made by a member of the Ward (Brother Chamrat Charoenkhet) that will give you some first hand visibility of what we saw last evening.
Wise Men Visit Herod
Wise Men arrive at the Manger
No Room at the Inn