Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

When I was a child I used to go to my grandparents up north on the summer holidays. Other than the usual treats (and mis-treats), they also had the advantage of living on a mountain where they could pick up on antenna (no cable back then) some CBN transmissions. Other than the occasional Star Trek re-run, this was also my first exposure to Christianity.

The most played on show there then was the '700 Club', which introduced me to what I still call "the weeping Christians" for fairly obvious reasons. They were always so serious and pleading, occasionally tearing at something I didn't understand. I used to switch channel whenever that show was on (just too boring for a child and probably too tedious for me today, though for other reasons).

The network also had two of my favorite anime tv series of the day: "Superbook" and "The Flying House". Aside from improving my fledgling English, it also introduced me to something strange: the bible stories I was sort-of raised on were not the whole story. In fact, there were a lot more characters and plots in there than I was told. Who knew there was a small mechanical robot involved in the story of Abraham? And who is this Jesus? He seems kinda nice but I've never heard of him before.

When I asked around my parents told me a bit more, in a slightly different version from what was on TV. I didn't understand. I was impressed by what I saw and the stories that were told but there were no Christians where I grew up. What's the deal?

Fortunately, by my Bar Mitzva (at 13) I've had it with religion (as in, Any religion). I don't know if there really was such a person or what his exact exploits were (I personally don't believe he was anything more than a man, which makes him a more powerful Human symbol in my eyes), but I still keep a warm place for that anime-introduced Jesus and what he seemd to have stood for: Love, Compassion, Humility and Justice. Is that a shallow, Christian-missionary derived, globalization sanctioned perception? Maybe. The child in me enjoyed those naive anime and perhaps that's all it takes.

Have a Happy Hanuka, Merry Christmas and a Great New Year.

Bright Eyes - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas {MP3} (from A Christman Album)
I'm sharing Bright Eyes' rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" for the next couple of days only (unless Blogger deletes it first). Bright Eyes' picture is from his page.

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