Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas in China

We spent our first Christmas in China. It was wonderful, relaxing and focused. We relaxed as a family, spent time with friends, skyped with family and went ice skating. The university near our house freezes their athletic field and uses it for PE classes or recreational skating. It costs RMB 5 to skate and RMB 5 to rent skates. So it costs us a total of RMB 25 (E. owns her own skates) to skate for a few hours. In American dollars that is about $3.50.
People might be surprised that Christmas is a big holiday here. Santa is everywhere-Santa says "Christmas Merry" or even "Feliz Navidad." There are trees decorated, tinsel and glitter. I can't seem to get my pictures to upload but you might be surprised at what is here.
However, it is totally secular. There is little knowledge of the incarnation, that Immanuel has come with us. And that is sad.
We spent Christmas Eve at a local registered body. We sang, we watched a pageant performed and generally had a good time. At the end, something redemptive and wonderful happened.
Every Christmas, our daughter has had gold coins in her stocking. You've probably seen them-the coins in a mesh bag. It's a Dutch German thing. I saw them a few months ago at the foreign grocery store but didn't grab them. Lesson learned- if you want something and you see it, buy it!
Elisabeth was sad about not having them this year. She had even asked me that day if I had found any. Tradition is important when all your roots have been pulled up and everything is new.
So, as we were at the end of the service, they started to hand out candy. I looked back at what she was holding and there it was. A gold coin. A gold yuan-the old ancient Chinese money. She got her coin in a new form! It just was a wonderful reminder of a loving Father who cares for her.


Unknown said...

Gold coins in a mesh bag? Chocolate coins? Sounds like gelt. I give chocolate gelt to the kids every year so they can use them to play dreidel with.

Another tradition that reaches across the world.

Unknown said...

Oh wow. What an awesome story of His hand in the "smallest of things."

I am glad to know that you are family. :-)

We too had a very meaningful Christmas. What a blessing. I saw fewer Christmas decorations here this year than last, it seems. One restaurant down the street had two trees in front. They were so sad, looked literally as if they took them out of the box and set them upright. I stopped on my trip back home to fluff out the branches. A worker came out to see what I was doing. I wished her a Merry Christmas and said I wanted to make her tree look better. She grunted and left. (Not much Christmas spirit. LOL)

I have no idea why Chinese (non family) would celebrate Christmas. Seems so very odd.