Dec 28, 2005

Belated Christmas Blog

"This will be a sign to you:
You will find a baby wrapped in cloths
and lying in a manger."

I had my Christmas thought of the year, sitting in my American Airlines economy class seat on the way from San Jose to Narita. I suspect the lady sitting in front of me (although it could have been the guy on my left) was lactose intolerant, given the fact that she kept ordering milk when refreshments came along, and the continuous farting whenever she was sleeping. And by continuous, I actually mean regular, like every minute or so.

At one point I gave up trying to hold my breath and hung out at the back of the plane with Heller's Catch-22, and considered how the manger must have smelled, and how far off it was from the lights and glitz of today's commercial Christmas.

Christmas is interesting in Hong Kong, because despite the rampant consumerism, it's still a visibly religious holiday. The political correctness here doesn't prevent people from writing "Merry Christmas" on big signs, or playing Christmas hymns in shopping malls. In contrast, Christmas in the States is highly secularized. Our company pushed hard to remind employees of the Spirit of Christmas, which mostly involved giving or family. Christmas themed stories, such as the book "The Giving Chest" and "Polar Express" also push a secularized Christmas morality. While it's certainly "better" than "buy buy buy", it's ironic how all these tales of the meaning of Christmas miss the true meaning of Christmas.

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