Dec 20, 2009

Snow, snow ,snow!

I am back in Niigata from a 5-day-visit of Bangladesh for Caritas Japan. As I arrived at Niigata station yesterday morning, snow-covered Niigata city welcomed me. Heavy snow fall started on Thursday and today, Sunday, it is still snowing hard. According to a newspaper, this is the record snow fall of December in Niigata city in 24 years. Niigata prefecture is famous as snow region but Niigata city itself does not have so much snow usually. So this is really exceptional.

Despite this heavy snow fall, more than 20 youths from several parishes in Niigata area gathered together at Niigata Catholic Center for their Christmas gathering this afternoon at 2 pm. They started the event with baking Christmas cake by themselves. Then they went into the group discussion on the theme of meaning of Christmas. Around 4 pm, I also joined the group. After listening to their reports of the group discussion, I gave a talk on the meaning of Christmas in modern society.

In fact, Christmas celebration is quite common in modern Japanese society and shops are filled with Christmas gifts. However, in most cases, these celebrations are without Jesus himself. So it is easy to say that their Christmas is fake and the "real" Christmas is our possession. However this kind of distinction does not produce anything good out of it. Rather we should think that all these secular Christmas events have their roots in the birth of Jesus Christ and because of this,their origin, it will produce something good in the society such as sharing gifts or sharing table with someone. Good has to produce good.

After the sharing and my talk, now we shared the cake followed by exchange of gifts and several songs. Thank you for coming to the party and I hope you will bring this joy of Christmas to your family and friends.

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