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Christmas

The true magic of Christmas lies in a generosity of spirit

  • During this festive period, a little reflection is required on the need for tolerance, consideration of the interests of others and working for the good of all
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 December, 2018, 9:54pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 December, 2018, 11:27pm

Christmas is one of the best times of year to enjoy being in Hong Kong. Festive lights make the city’s skyline even more spectacular than usual. The swish shopping malls are adorned with decorations ranging from the extravagant to the extraordinary. Then there is the generally good weather and the convenience of most shops, restaurants and attractions staying open. In some respects, the city has more appeal at this time of year than parts of the world with a longer and deeper Christmas tradition.

But amid all the glitz and glamour, the parties and the presents, it is easy to forget the underlying message of Christmas, which applies to people of all faiths as well as those who are not religious. Christmas is a time of peace and goodwill to all, a time to put differences aside, to forgive and forget. This has been a year of trade wars and tension, Trump tweets and Brexit battles. A little reflection is required on the need for tolerance, consideration of the interests of others and working for the good of all.

Christmas is, at root, a religious festival celebrating the birth of Christ, the founder of Christianity. For Christians it is an important time to manifest their faith. But it has become more than a Christian festival. Over the years, it has been adopted and adapted and is now celebrated in different ways all around the world. Christmas is not a public holiday on the mainland and celebrations are not always welcome there. A town in Hebei province made headlines last week when it ordered Christmas decorations to be removed and shops to stop selling Santa Claus figures. This was done in the name of “stability”. However, Christmas is celebrated on the mainland, especially by the young, with couples dating and exchanging gifts.

Giving at Christmas is not only for family and friends. Operation Santa Claus, the annual fundraising drive run by the Post and RTHK, is supporting 13 charities this year. The beneficiaries include organisations helping teenagers suffering from mental illness, children with learning disabilities and the elderly. There is still time to donate. The true magic of Christmas lies in a generosity of spirit and a desire to treat others well. We wish all our readers, of all faiths and whether religious or not, a very happy Christmas.