Monday, December 12, 2005

The Christmas to know of.

Christmas- a time when Santa Claus could squeeze his 50-inch waistline down relatively stick-like chimneys to the homes of good boys and girls, families gather for a scrumptious dinner of roasted stuffed turkey in a home warmed by the fire (there’s roasted chestnuts, too!) pine trees, decorated with lights of blue, red and green; and presents of all shapes and sizes underneath- a symbol of miniature happiness and thanksgiving, as seen from a frosted window; while on the outside, a big blanket of snow covers each square inch of land. This is the idea of Christmas that we all know of, never mind if we live in a tropical country- with the sun basking at our faces 365 days a year.

With technology and creativity, the atmosphere of a winter wonderland can now be easily recreated by shopping malls and theme parks. Yet, without that minus 2 degree of chilliness, that chimney for Santa Claus to go through, that snowman to build on Christmas morning and that sizzling sounds of firewood burning at the fireplace; are we Malaysians, perhaps; celebrating less a Christmas?

If Christmas were to be characterized by season and by how our houses were made (and not made), clearly, we are celebrating less a Christmas. I am reminded of a song, “I am dreaming of a white Christmas”, which spoke of a wish for all Christmases be white. Alas, that dream never really came true for us Malaysians. What a pity, really because we have almost everything we need to recreate that Christmassy atmosphere, right down to live pine trees. We celebrate, we drink up and we party the night away. After all, “tis the season to be jolly”. We join in the rush-hour Christmas shopping and enjoy the sale and buy that little black dress we spot while we shop for gifts for friends and families. We even buy a gift or two and drop them in that box for orphans, so yearning for some Christmas cheer and warmth this year. There is something magical about giving during this season, and nothing quite like giving presents in beautifully wrapped boxes and ribbons. It is the ultimate commercialization and secularization of a festival- just like anywhere else in the world, yet; if we make people around us happy, if we ourselves are happy; what harm does it bring?

It is quite rightly said, isn’t it? Celebrations are meant to be happy occasions and thus far, we seem to be serving its purpose well- but are we, really? Or, are we missing the point about being happy and joyous about Christmas and its winter wonderland? After all, that is not the Malaysian kind of Christmas, though it may seem to be the idea of Christmas that is indoctrinated in us. Christmas without snow would sound so foreign to us. However, it does sound peculiar how we could embrace a season we are so unaccustomed to, as the idea of Christmas. Looking retrospectively, our reason for celebrating Christmas is that fantasy we can never have. Rather odd reason, isn't it?

Yet, there is this story about Christmas which is beyond fantasy-sounding, but not a fantasy; which we desperately need to hear once more. A story about a baby boy, born to this earth in Bethlehem more than 2000 years ago by Mary, His virgin mother in a stable of all places- no decorative Christmas trees, no 5-star welcoming party and above all, no snow. This is no any baby boy, for an angel of the Lord said to the shepherds of Him, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you; you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in the manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will to men!”- Luke 2:11-14.

And this is the story of Christmas, the reason to celebrate Christmas; not just as a day to eat, drink or be merry, though it now is; not just a day to exchange gifts to loved ones; though it now is, not just a day to hunt for that authentic Christmas feeling beneath that fake Christmas tree and fake snow; though it now is; but a day to celebrate hope for man, once bleak and dying; now alive with hope of salvation.

The birth of Jesus Christ- God who walked on the earths of Jerusalem more than 2000 years ago has come to save Man from bondage to sins and Death. This is the Christmas we know that we are not celebrating less of, just because we do not have snow. This is the Christmas we want to know of, whether we live in the blazing deserts of Sahara or the icy-cold mountain peaks of Himalaya. Now, isn’t that worth celebrating?


Blogger Sze Zeng said...

Yes, it is worth celebrating!...

6:19 PM  
Blogger jacksons said...

Fall on your knees, oh, hear,
the angel voices.
O'night, divine,
O'night when Christ was born.

PS: On the positive side, this Americanized White Christmas has helped us smuggle in the joy and wonder of this time of the year, into nations and environments hostile to Christianity, so, as always, God can use evil for His good.

11:38 PM  
Anonymous Eugene said...

Hi Tehtarik lady,

Greetings from Korea :-) How's Ipoh?

Will be back Christmas Eve. Seasons greeting!

10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Tehtarik lady,

Greetings from Middle East :-) How's Ipoh?

Will be back (in KL) Christmas Eve. Seasons greetings!


9:21 AM  
Blogger amy said...

yeah , many had forget the real meaning of Christmas, yet celebrating it blindly...

But do grab this year's Christmas celebration as a golden oppurtunity to share the real meaning of Christmas to your beloved ones!!

Merry Christmas!!

7:26 PM  
Blogger jacksons said...

Isa 9:2 ESV
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined.

2 Cor 4:6 ESV
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas to you.

The Jacksons, now 3.

10:03 AM  

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