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Yesterday we visited a fun place in Thailand called the “Elephant PooPooPaper Park” (yes, there is such a place where they use elephant poo to make paper!) After the slimy, hands-on tour we approached the counter to pay for our little crafts made from poo paper. My mind contemplated, “Should I say Merry Christmas? Will our tour guide (Ms. B) understand?” Suddenly, she turned and said to me, “Merry Christmas!” I responded and then jumped in further.

Me: Do you know the meaning of Christmas?
Ms. B: Christmas and New Year together, yes!
Me: But do you know the meaning of Christmas?
Ms. B: In Thailand, they go together.
Me: But Christmas has a special meaning, do you know it?
Ms. B: December 25 right?
Me: Yes but on December 25 we celebrate the largest birthday party ever and it’s a birthday that changed my life and millions of lives in the world!
Ms. B: Oh, really? A birthday?
(We then shared briefly with this 30+ year old woman the meaning of Christmas and the gift Jesus provides for the world if anyone chooses to receive it.)
Ms. B: This story, this meaning, is very beautiful. I did not know. Most in Thailand don’t know there’s a meaning to Christmas. It is good I now know. Thank you.

We encouraged Ms. B to ask Jesus specifically to reveal himself to her on December 25. (Hey, please join us in praying for her on this day!)

We left the Elephant Poo Poo Park in smiles because our family had fun together, but also deeply moved and grieved that so many don’t know about the most significant birth that has ever occurred.

Have you ever thought about Christmas as the birthday that started your salvation story? Without Christmas we couldn’t have Good Friday or Easter? Without all three, we couldn’t have salvation. This morning I was reading in Luke 1 where Zachariah spoke about his son John the Baptist and the way he would prepare the way for Jesus “to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.”

With Ms. B. we simply shared the story of Jesus’ birth and we told her about the gift of the forgiveness of sins. This is the Good News for the world.

It is hard to be away from family at Christmas. Really, really hard. But it’s moments like these when you’re the very first in the whole world to tell a young woman about the meaning of Jesus’ birth, that you are reminded that you represent a story that is life-changing and is global in nature.

Someday we will celebrate Christmas in heaven – whoa. I just wonder if any of us will look around and see someone celebrating beside us who was part of the unreached world until we took note that Jesus matters most on earth and did something about it. As we now celebrate the Birth that forever changed the world, we also celebrate that He allows you and me to continue changing the world by telling the story of His life, death, and resurrection.

This Christmas discover how your family can move his story to the unreached areas. Why not offer some Joy to the World! One way you can do that is through giving gifts in honor of your family that impacts the least reached area of the world.

 

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