Deck the malls with boughs of holly!…… so wrote a friend on her Facebook page a few days ago.
That was a couple of days after we as a family had dutifully did the rounds of seasonal shopping at a couple of shopping malls on both the mainland and island. This is what we found:
Mall No. 1 had decorated its main entrance with “A Tinkerbell and Peter Pan Christmas” theme, complete with a flying Peter Pan and gently hovering Tinkerbell all decked out in their fairy costumes! My 7 year old was suitably impressed and immediately began making plans to make it for the official “launching” of a fairy tale Christmas!
While, Mall No. 2 had come up with – wait for it – “A Power Rangers Christmas!“. No kidding! – all 5 super heroes in their colorful costumes were going to make an official appearance at the mall beginning in a few days’ time and for I can’t remember how long! The setting was striking – complete with an impressive stage and backdrop. This was even more thrilling for my young fellow, especially that he’s just got into this Power Rangers craze…..
Now, that’s just 2 malls in Penang! How many malls are there in the country? The mind began to boggle!
Now, before we start emailing newspaper editors and other “powers that be” and begin other non-violent mass demonstrations at these and other places of interest, I’d like to recall that
something similar happened in a forgotten town in an old Roman outpost some 2000 years ago .
The Jews couldn’t fathom the fact that the Messiah whom they had been waiting – albeit alternatively patiently and otherwise, for so long, wasn’t really the “superhero” type. Rather, unlike the typical king/hero they were expecting and contrary to popular opinion, this Messiah was born in a manger, to a virgin who was married to a carpenter, among a variety of barn animals and with a rather dubious crowd of shepherds and mysterious men from equally mysterious places as his witnesses. To top it off, there was a whole choir of angels present too, in all their glory!!!
I don’t know but I’d like to think that even the most creative marketing guru would find it a tad difficult to transform that scenario into a profitable shopping opportunity. Maybe that’s why during these gloomy economic times, retailers have had to resort to these assorted superheroes to “save” their businesses!
So how can we respond then? Maybe the following heart warming story of how one ordinary man has gone about educating people on the real meaning of Christmas can help us. Not just for one or two years mind you, but for a staggering 63 years! And he has gone about doing it in a very creative way too – by playing the role of Santa Claus in a rather pro-active way!
Thanks to CNA (Catholic News Agency), the story begins here like this:
It’s a sight to see: a real, live Santa Claus on his knees, hands folded, inclining his head reverently toward statues of the Holy Family. This is how one Virginia man celebrates Christmas. For 63 years he has devoted himself to teaching children about the true meaning of the holiday season.
and continues here.
Maybe if we could all take a leaf out of his book and each one tried to make it our business to tell others of the real meaning of Christmas. If we could keep our small acts of witnessing going faithfully over the years just like our friend in the story above, maybe in due time, we will have less such “superheroes” in our malls while at the same time, enabling others to see indeed that it’s Jesus who’s the real reason for the season.
O Come Let Us Adore Him!