Would you be surprised to know that Japan is actually quite into the Christmas scene? I don't know how many people have asked me if Americans celebrate Christmas...
Of course the Japanese celebration of Christmas has very little to do with Christ's birth. People look at me like I'm a bit off when I start trying to explain the true meaning of Christmas.
"You mean Christians celebrate Christmas too?"
Even in Japanese the words aren't that far off... Christ and Christmas. Christian and Christmas. But still the true meaning evades most people in Japan...
So Japanese Christmas is really about Christmas cakes (white decorated sponge cake) and pretty lights. Though the department stores are decorated with Christmas trees and colorful boxes, most families don't put up a Christmas tree and don't buy each other presents. (The exception being young dating couples. Christmas Eve is supposedly VERY romantic.)
The pretty lights. Even in my little farm town, out in the middle of nowhere with frozen rice fields all around there is the occasional house with a SHOW of twinkling, blinking Christmas lights. Santa Claus climbing a ladder (no chimneys) reindeer prancing across a roof. A WATERFALL of lights flowing around the yard. And no one around has the slightest idea that Jesus was born in all this color!
It's not that I am anti-Christmas lights. We helped put up Christmas lights at the church last weekend. But I'm afraid the church display is pale compared to the farmhouse a couple of miles away (but even the church's display lights the darkness for miles around.)
There was a time when we put up lights in front of our house too but I think after the strands blew a fuse we just never got around to buying more... and if we are going to buy them, the expensive LED lights would be nice (but no blinking lights for me). I'll see if I can motivate Tetsu to put up a small strand this year. We Christians should at least TRY to be a light shining in the darkness this Christmas season.
(The church sign says... "God is Love.")