Whose Birthday is it Anyway?

Paul Cannings - Thursday, December 15, 2016

As many may know, our travels took us to Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong. Three totally different places, races, culture, and beliefs, and while I knew that my wife had some distant roots with her maiden name being Chan and a Chinese grandfather, she felt like an alien in a distant land. I told Everette that she was receiving frequent friendly stares because of her Chinese features that many people seem to recognize (strange for a people who look upon eye to eye contact as disrespect). There was even brief burst of conversations in Cantonese, often leaving her wondering what they might be saying about a black woman with Chinese features.
As different or strange as she felt or as great as the sights and history were, we were struck by the universal language of a warm smile and genuine act of kindness. For instance, when the taxi driver realized that she wasn't wearing a coat in Beijing and desperately needed one, he took his off and gave it to her. Other instances were when the tour guide brought her husband's jacket for Everette to have during the trip, when Everette complimented a well-dressed lady about her scarf and she took it off and gave it to her, and the Chinese individual who recognized us in an eternally long queue for some tickets to a light show and just walked up to us and gave us two tickets. But then we observed that strikingly noticeable difference that while Buddhist temples were evident, not one church was spotted in Beijing or Shanghai. Although we were told there were a few in Hong Kong, they were certainly not prevalent. However, despite their belief, Christmas decorations and SALE signs were prevalent in every store.

They have Americans beat for Consumerism as confirmed by native American Chinese now living and teaching at a university in Hong Kong. It caused me to soul search the question....whose birthday is it anyway?
The answer for Christians is simple....If our spending of time, money or talent is more on the secular trends this season and you measure Christmas by what you give and what you receive then maybe, just maybe, it’s Jared's, Macy's, Starbucks, Sears and Dillard’s birthday; just like it is for Buddhist in China.
I was curious, so I asked our Accountant, who has been with us for years, how was our giving in December and she told me some surprising news that December was our lowest giving month the same as Easter. If you spend time visiting a prison, a nursing home, or giving just your regular tithes to church, then maybe it’s truly Jesus’s birthday.
So the question is yours today....Whose birthday is it? Does your checkbook, talent, or day planner reflect your response? 
Thanks for praying for our safe travels.



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