Sunday, November 16, 2008

THE 15 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS (A Communist China Tradition)

[*From the STMcC Archive: 2007, Nov.]

For most of us, Christmas is a time of giving, feasting, visiting, and recalling joyful memories while getting falling DOWN liquored UP. Who isn’t reminded of that special gift? The first bicycle perhaps, or an electric train, a puppy dog, a urinating baby doll that cries “Change me”, or a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist’s dummy. (That last one was MY favorite childhood present. My least favorite gift was a children’s Bible from my Aunt; it made me cry. But “Blessed are those who mourn,” Jesus said, “for they shall be comforted.” And I was indeed comforted when I saw what my Brother received from my Aunt: one-piece, pink bunny pajamas.) . . .

Fa-ra-ra-ra-Ra / ra-ra-ra-Ra

I frequently post lighthearted “stuffs” on my Blogs because life is just darned serious enough already. But this time I want to take the opportunity to remind us all of the realities that we often tend to lose sight of after that eighth mug of hot buttered rum. Not everyone is celebrating Christ’s birth as pleasantly as we are. The following true story of Christian persecution comes from the book “JESUS FREAKS; VOLUME II” by dc Talk and the Voice of the Martyrs, copyright 2002 by Bethany House Publishers:

Pastor Li De Xian speaks about suffering from experience. The man who said “I will preach until I die” has stuck to his word. Despite continued pressure from the Public Security Bureau (PSB), Pastor Li refuses to miss a service unless he is in prison, or change his message of salvation through Jesus Christ.

During the period of October 2000 to May 2001, he was arrested fifteen times for preaching in his unregistered house church in Guangzhou. He has been arrested so many times during the past two years that he has lost count. During one recent detention, jailers tied his arms and legs together and chained his arms and legs to a bedpost for three days. When they finally released him from this torture, he was forced to work on an assembly line in the prison factory PUTTING BULBS INTO STRINGS OF CHRISTMAS LIGHTS TO SEND TO AMERICA! He and the others had a quota of between 4 and 5 thousand bulbs a day. … Li has seen imprisoned Christians tortured so badly that their buttocks bled through their clothing. He spent 15 DAYS in prison on this particular occasion.

Yet rather than this experience teaching him to be afraid, it has taught him to be prepared. He travels at all times with a small black duffel bag that he keeps packed with a blanket and a change of clothes – the things he will need for prison whenever he is arrested next. “Arrests will come at any time, but we are not afraid, as we have prepared ourselves, and we have not done any crimes.” Whenever possible he will spend his time in prison reading THE BIBLE, something he manages to smuggle in with amazing regularity.

His wife, Zhao Xia, strongly supports him in this and refuses to worry. “God will take care of him,” she says, “so there is no need to worry.”

“Don’t feel sorry for us,” Zhao Xia says of their lifestyle. “At least we are constantly reminded that we are in a spiritual war. We know for whom we are fighting. We know who the enemy is. And we are fighting. Perhaps we should pray for you Christians outside of China. In your leisure, in your affluence, in your freedom, sometimes you no longer realize that you are in spiritual warfare.”

This Christmastime, as we shop for gifts that express our love to others, let’s keep in mind that China embraces Communism - a failed economic/social system responsible for murdering approximately 100 million human beings worldwide and torturing and starving many millions more. Perhaps we shouldn’t monetarily support nations like China (and others) that deny basic human rights to their citizens.

Now before I ruin Christmas for everyone, pour yourself another eggnog (not you, Rudolph! You’ve clearly had enough nose paint already!) and let me attempt to lighten the atmosphere with a few genuine responses that boys ’n’ girls gave to Art Linkletter on his 1950s TV show House Party. These come from the book “KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS”:

Q: Where did you get that scratched nose? Have an accident?
A: It was nothing much. I fell out of the Christmas tree.

Q: Have you written Santa Claus?
A: I’d better whisper in your ear or I’m going to
spoil Christmas for these other kids.

Q: Did you see Santa this year?
A: See him? I fixed him a bourbon and water.

OK, last and least, if you’re interested, feel free to visit my Ghost Of Christmas Reviews Past at by clicking on the linked titles below. These are some Yuletide reviews I previously wrote which prove I haven’t always been an Ebenezer Grinch.

My review for the compact disc
The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection
is titled:
"Attention! This E-Mail Just In From THE NORTH POLE."

My review for the classical compact disc
The Best of Leroy Anderson: Sleigh Ride
is titled:

My review for the book
It's a Wonderful Christmas: The Best of the Holidays 1940-1965
is titled:
(Do take the test and learn how little you really know about the Christmas holiday!)

So? . . .
Have you been naughty or nice?
Nice is alright but lacks some of the spice.
Naughty’s heavy on spice but comes at a price.
The price of naughty can be a lot of thrown rice.
Might ah suggest you should maybe—
Ah say, You should maybe think twice.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

POSTSCRIPT: My friend The Flying Aardvark wrote the following:

"Please don't forget to include that WONDERFUL holiday story you sent as a Christmas card to me last year. It was about the correspondence you received from your incarcerated pen pal. That was such an amazing, lump in the throat tale."

So, by special request, here it is:
My 'So You'd Like To' guide titled,
See IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE Come To Life! (A REAL Xmas Miracle)

No comments:

Post a Comment

All submitted comments that do not transgress "Ye Olde Comment Policy" will be posted and responded to as soon as possible. Thanks for taking the time to comment.