June 16th, 2024

The world has lost sight of the true spirit of Christmas


By Lethbridge Herald on December 7, 2022.

ditor:

Jesus was unjustly accused of being an enemy of the Roman Empire and executed on the cross. St. Nicholas became the salesman-in-chief for Christmas sales and has been renamed “Santa Claus.” They killed the saint of generosity. A few years ago, department stores in Japan were criticized for ignoring religion. So one of them hanged Santa Claus on the cross. It became a universal laughing stock. 

I remember when my father scandalized the barber who was cutting his hair. Dad was a Methodist Church minister in Tokyo. The man with a pair of scissors asked why he was so tired. The answer: he was very busy preparing for Christmas. 

The hairdresser was shocked. For him, Christmas was boozing and debaucheries far away from church. Thinking a little bit more about what we do at Christmas time, I can say we may not be too far away from the ridiculous display of ignorance shown by the crucified Santa Claus. 

Many things we do around Christmas time have changed from the original “Holy Night.” The spirit of charity and generosity is an afterthought if at all, like the Salvation Army kettle. 

We sing the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas.” He was a Duke of Bohemia who went into the cold night on the day after Christmas on the Feast of Stephen, and distributed alms to the street people in the 10th century. We sing it but not many do it. 

Now Santa is mostly a symbol of greed and hedonism. Where are family and friends? 

At best, some people make it once a year to church. But for merchants it is the most important day for profit. Christmas moved to the shopping mall.

We moved far away from the spirit of St. Nicholas. He was a bishop of Asia Minor, today’s Turkey, during the fourth century. Many miracles were attributed to him. He was known for his numerous charity works promoting the spirit of generosity. 

But department stores killed the idea of giving and replaced it with profit-making. The Coca Cola company rebranded his image to advertise the newly concocted brown soft drink loaded with sugar and named it Coca Cola. 

St. Nicholas was made to discard the sombre black bishop’s cloak and to put on cheerful red.

We crucified St. Nicholas and resurrected him to advertise the Christmas sale. Funny, “Santa” in Japanese means the third-born son. He was demoted from a saint to a salesman in shopping malls probably with minimum wage. It is almost as bad as the Roman Empire crucifying Jesus as a terrorist. Today, people hardly think of Santa Claus as a symbol of charity. He will give you toys if you are good boys and girls. 

Let us remember the spirit of Christmas is giving, not receiving. It’s the time for young and old to discover the joy of giving. When you love someone, giving is happiness. 

How have we managed to change Christmas into the feast of greed? Is the crucified Santa Claus in Japan any worse than the feast of gluttony and greed at the temple of capitalism? There is a good reason why many churches in history prohibited Christmas celebrations as pagan debauchery. 

I am not rejecting the idea of profits. Profit is a reward for hard work. Profit is good. It makes the world go around. What I don’t like is deception. 

Don’t try to make a charity profit-making enterprise. Gift is not a bribe nor a business expense. It’s an expression of love. 

You say “I love you” with presents. I love giving presents to my dear friends and beloved family, spouse, kids and grand kids. I think it is a beautiful custom. But gift without love is just stuff. Don’t get business and charity mixed up.

You remember the story written by O Henry, “The Gift of the Magi.” I read it in the Grade 7 English textbook in Japan. The husband sold his precious pocket watch to buy an expensive comb for his wife’s gorgeous hair. In the meantime, she cut and sold her long hair to a wig-maker to buy an expensive chain for her husband’s watch. They both ended up with presents that were expensive but no longer useful. But they laughed about the tragic comedy and were extremely happy. Their love was affirmed. A Christmas present is the celebration of love, even if it’s useless. 

If you want to celebrate the true Santa Claus, give a certain percentage of the money spent on presents to the food bank or World Food Program like Good King Wenceslas did to the homeless. It’s better to give than to receive. 

 Don’t crucify Santa Claus.

Tadashi (Tad) Mitsui

Lethbridge

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Les Elford

 Mr. Mitsui
Very well stated. Thank you for reminding us of the true meaning of Christmas. Currently, the world in general may seem more upside down.

Especially, during times of geopolitical uncertainty, economic and financial uncertainty, inflation, supply disruptions, health care crisis’s, rising interest rates, food shortages and inflation sick children, hospital bed and medical staff shortages.

I am reminded of the words and lifestyle, and example of one of the most loving, compassionate, selfless people who lived during my lifetime. We could all perhaps learn from her.

 A Simple Path (Mother Teresa). 

“The Warmth of Our Hand” 
” Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same—- with charity you give love, so don’t just give money, but reach out your hand instead”. 

“When I was in London, I went to see the homeless people where our sisters have a soup kitchen.”
“One man, who was living in a cardboard box, held my hand and said,

“It’s been a long time since I felt the warmth of a human hand”

“Love has no meaning if it isn’t shared. Love has to be put into action. You have to love without expectation, to do something for love itself, not for what you may receive. If you expect something in return, then it isn’t love, because true love is loving without conditions and expectations.”

” When people who are used to being rejected and abandoned experience being accepted by others and being loved, when they see people are giving their time and energy for them, that conveys a message that, after all, they are not rubbish.”

” It is not how much you do but how much love you put into the doing and sharing with others that is important. Try not to judge people. If you judge others, then you are not giving love. Instead, try to help them by seeing their needs and acting to meet them.”

biff

wow, referencing mother teresa gets one a pile of negs. hard to fathom.

Say What . . .

The birth of Christ who offers eternal salvation for the world and brings with the death on the cross and defeat of the enemy Satan and all of his minions in Hell, giving us the grace and righteiousness of God and the peace, joy, happiness, love, prosperity and so many other great things.
He is our Saviour, the Son of God! He has restored what Satan stole in the Garden of Eden, along with eternal life in heaven to those who believe!
Jesus is the reason for the season! Merry CHRISTmas!

lumpy

It’s just a story, a well written one, but still a fable.
Belief in these fictional entities has caused wars and division, also keeps society from evolving.
Whatever floats your boat, please don’t ram it down other’s throats.
Treat others well, but keep your fantasy to yourself.

Say What . . .

Well Terry, I was not ramming down your throat, I was commenting on the article “The world has lost sight of the true spirit of Christmas”.
I will not argue religious beliefs. You are free to believe in what you want. Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!

lumpy

That spiel was a “comment’?? More like a fanatical rant.
Who the **** is Terry?