While the country with the most supposed religious freedoms cowers in fear at uttering the phrase Merry Christmas, China, the most oppressive country in the world in regard to religious freedom, joyously proclaims a hearty Merry Christmas to one and all.
Here for your viewing pleasure are Christmas Shoppers in China or as we like to ask in America, "What's wrong with this picture?"
And when large corporations in Hong Kong raise money for charity during Christmastime, executives have no problem dressing up as Santa Claus and his helpers:
South China Morning Post,
20 Dec 2007,
Reindeer and elves help to deck the halls of Barclays Capital
It all became a lot more Christmassy when the eight senior managers completed their face-painting and emerged as a team of Christmas characters - Santa Claus, reindeers, elves and a fairy.
"I can feel how women feel wearing their makeup every day," said Peter McNulty, who was painted as a reindeer. "I am going to the pub like this tonight."
Clare Williams, director of corporate communications, said the eight managers were voted into the roles by staff who paid up to HK$500 for a vote to nominate the character each one should represent.
After a group photograph, Santa Claus and his helpers toured the office's five floors in the Citibank Tower, to raise more funds.
Meanwhile here in America we have a War on Christmas and we have to threaten boycotts to make retailers use the word Christmas in their promotions:
Merry Christmas Target
observation of Target's in-store, web, and printed promotional materials indicated that the discount chain was among the many retailers (in the U.S., at least) who began the 2005 holiday season by downplaying or eschewing use of the word "Christmas" in favor of the less-specific word "Holiday."
I am not defending China, it is well known that it still cruelly persecutes Christians, but it is quite ironic that scenes such as the one above is more likely in China than here at home. If we do see a Santa in America he is more likely to be surrounded rather apologetically with signs wishing everyone a watered-down "Happy Holiday" or a bland "Season's Greetings" and placing presents under a "Winter Tree".
When did wishing anyone a Merry Christmas turn into an insult? I am an atheist and I proudly wish everyone a Merry Christmas. If you're not a Christian, then please accept the wish anyway. Merry Christmas does not mean the wisher wants you to get down on your knees and worship Christ. Merry Christmas simply means "Please enjoy this most festive of seasons. I hope you and your family have joy and good health. May your heart fill with good will toward all men and may there be peace on Earth." It means all these things and not one thing that is evil or malevolent, so if you cannot accept the greeting in the generous spirit in which it is offered, then it is you that has the problem, not the well-wisher. Get over it.
Wouldn't it be ironic if some mother in China is telling her children: "Enjoy Christmas, my little ones, as much as you can, for there are children in America who are starving to hear the words, "Merry Christmas!"
Merry Christmas To All My Flickr Friends
A tip of the turban to Faultline USA for pointing us to this video: