Sunday, December 23, 2012

1100 Kids - Santa and Options to Contextualize Christmas in Schools of Taiwan.

"Weihnachtsmann" in 1897 on a German Postcard
As every year the Santa culture in Taiwan is repeated, although it is quite unknown who's birthday is celebrated on Christmas. No wonder. Everywhere the number of Santas give the impression Christmas is about Santas. The around Christmas business apparently profits from it. There seems to be a cultural fight between "Santa" and the Christian tradition to remind people on Jesus' birthday. Yet our recent experience as TECC Team in two schools showed us this is not necessary the case. The  red-white Santa or in German "Weihnachtsmann" according to the "Thüringer Allgemeine " originates from Germany, as a large collection of postcards gathered by Mrs. Christl Hütten in the Thuringian Eichsfeld confirmed. Here the oldest card ever found with a Weihnachtsmann ("Santa") was discovered. The card with the nice red-clothed man dated as early as 18. December 1897 was sent with Christmas greetings to another place in Germany and shows an elderly man in red cloth walking through snow (see picture). - Up to not so long ago the U.S.American soda company Coca Cola claimed to be the inventer and developer of "Santa". Evidence shows this is no longer likely, however Coca Cola still managed to be efficient in spreading Santas picture all over the country to advertize its drinks in a time of economic depression in 1931. 
One class has about 25 kids
Sharing presents 
For our TECC team all the background history did not matter, when we visited two schools, one in the country site, the other  in Neili to share the Christmas story to over 1100 kids just last Friday. - Because of the many classes we planed to see we did split our team into two groups. The two Indonesian women in Alains group taught how to say "Merry Christmas" in Indonesian and quickly we could see where the kids with Indonesian immigrant background where. - "Christmas is a globally well known festival", this message on this background could easily be understood. - In one case the whole class was so happy for a bit program, that they were dancing for us three times! Wow! - In all classes after a short message and a class picture with Santa the kids got small presents, reminding us on Gods most precious present to humanity: Jesus Christ. This way this kids heard about Jesus and now understand the importance of the day a bit better. 
The "2012 TECC Santa Team"
Hopefully, one day or in eternity will see even a bigger success than Coca Cola had in 1931 when they were using Santa to advertise good drinks, but see how these over 1100 kids learn about Jesus and tell other friends about him and find out where to find eternal satisfaction for their inner thirst! (Jo 4). Remember for many of them it might take a long, long time until they will hear something about Jesus again! That is also why we all gave them a "Christmas letter" for the parents, with more information about the gospel of Christ and how to celebrate Christmas with Jesus. - Thus even a Santa tradition can help to bring the Good News about Jesus, provided certain actions like giving away presents, explaining the real meaning of Christmas and a letter for the parents are part of what they take home.

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