He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”revelation 21:5
For us, the festive season of lights and colour definitely begins with the Thai celebration of Loy Kratong in mid November. Thousands flock to parks, rivers and temples to float boat-like kratongs on the water on the night of the full moon. The kratong is full of symbolism (not unlike a Cristingle in some ways) and the ritual could be viewed as a collective act of repentance; letting go of the past and looking hopefully towards the future. Traditionally people put finger nail clippings onto their kratong; the act of letting go is spiritual and yet it stays rooted in the physical. Like so many other celebrations the meaning can get lost in the spectacle of course – you can buy kratongs made of bread, with flashing lights or even in the shape of a Barbie!
As thoughts turn to Christmas I’ve been reflecting on the wonderful mix of heavenly and mundane, spiritual and physical that we encounter both in the Christmas story of the Bible and in our own lived experience of family Christmas! I am anticipating wonder and joy to sit right alongside tantrums and tummy aches and disapointment (adults included!). This is no blip but a pattern that was set in motion back in the stable with it’s cast of nobodies; literally Heaven touching Earth. In redeeming his world, God uses the raw materials of life – the dust and the blood, the laughter and the tears – all of it – and combines them in new and baffling ways. The incarnation reminds us that Creation is essentially good.
I’m reminded of our RoyRak workshop full of beads in all shapes and sizes, brimming with potential but really not amounting to much on a shelf. To make something beautiful takes a trained eye and a great deal of skill… believe me I’ve seen (and made) some terrible designs in my time! We are invited into the task of building God’s kingdom on Earth by extending goodness, by speaking out against injustice, by loving well wherever we are. Once we recognise the pattern, we become co-creators with all the materials of the kingdom at our fingertips. Let’s gaze a little longer on the word made flesh this advent season, not turning our eyes from the pain of the world or resisting the joys.
Pray with us:
- We had a precious time reconnecting with each other and with others during our October reunion in Thailand. Please pray for us as we continue to navigate the dynamics of being apart and travelling often. Jon and Sam will be in the UK for Christmas – arriving December 17th. There can be a pressure to get the most out of every moment together but the Bangkok contingent are going to be exhausted and needing rest. Please pray for good health, straightforward travel and for a peaceful break over Christmas
- Many of you prayed for our meeting with the head of the Thai Child Adoption Centre. Although Elise was unwell and couldn’t attend, the meeting exceeded our expectations as the entire staff were gathered and there seemed to be lots of enthusiasm about the prospect of collaborating on a website. Please pray for open lines of communication and the momentum to get this project off the ground. Pray that the right info will end up on the website and more people (especially Thais) will consider domestic adoption in Thailand.
- The sale schedule for RoyRak seems to be more hectic than usual as venues re-open to outsiders. There are sales most days for around a month which is a huge commitment for our team. Please pray for them in the stress of logistics and long hours. Please pray also for those making the jewellery and completing customer orders, that the workshop might stay a safe place to work even when under pressure. Sales so far are down on other years but we are aware that funds are tight for everyone this year. Please pray that we will break even and that staff will end the year encouraged.
- Jon and Sam have travelled to Melbourne for 3 nights where Jon is attending the first face to face UNOH meetings in 3 years whilst Sam visits a good friend. Please pray that the time is valuable for strengthening relationships and shared vision. Sam has just recovered from a second round of covid so please pray especially for energy for him crossing time zones.
- As the weather in the UK has turned colder in the last few weeks Bow is struggling a bit with energy production. She claims not to feel the cold (!) but some of the milder manifestations of her mitochondrial disease are definitely making things tricky – particularly trouble with swallowing.
- Elliot is ending the term with exams and still maintaining a staggering pace! He performed at our local theatre last week for his music and drama GCSEs despite having a heavy cold. He is very settled with a good group of friends. Pray for his underlying anxiety – that he can be present in the moment and trust the future to God.