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I read recently about how Japan celebrates Christmas, which has become a major event over there. They put up decorations, exchange presents, send cards, sing yuletide songs, decorate trees, serve special seasonal treats and make a big fuss over St Nick, Rudolph and Frosty. Their Santa is sometimes dressed like a Samurai. It is very important for single adults to have a date for a romantic dinner on Christmas Eve. And for reasons that can't be determined, a big Christmas tradition is attending a concert of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

The one thing the Japanese do not do at Christmas is honor Christ. That's because Japan is nearly 99% Shinto and Buddhist. A missionary to Japan was asked if Christmas was Santa's birthday. Only 1/2 of 1 percent of Japan's population is Christian. So where do you think they got this commercial version of Christmas? From our North American practices. They are attracted to the glitter and romance of the American version of Christmas, and have adopted nearly everything except the spiritual significance of the season.

From Darryl Klassen's Sermon "Word Play"

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