DECEMBER 24 — Each time I step into a mall in late December, I wonder if the Bible left out important things. Because it’s Christmas season and the book Christians hold as authoritative doesn’t even mention the word “Christmas.”
The Bible only talks about prophecies, some genocidal leader, a shocking pregnancy, a troubled fiancée who wanted to break off the marriage, a birth in a place worse than a 1-star hostel, a young couple turned refugees, shepherds, angels come on.
The absolute first thing that’s sorely missing in the Christian Scriptures is Santa. What on earth would Christmas be without a plus-sized dude in a big-ass red coat handing out gifts?
In fact I refuse to visit any mall or church which isn’t decked out with snow and reindeers, because everybody knows that Santa without Rudolf and his ilk is just fake news.
The best thing about Christmas in Malaysia? The colours red and gold can be re-used for CNY season. Heck, the other day I was in a mall in Kota Damansara and I couldn’t tell what celebrations the deco was symbolising. It looked like Yuletide Fa Cai, or Gong Xi X’Mas?
Anyway, back to Santa. The Bible doesn’t mention him. Or maybe it did originally, but those nasty redactors and copiers edited him out.
Whatever the case, it’s obvious Santa is a God-like figure because how much more divine can you be when you live in the North Pole, operate largely in places with heavy snow, secretly enter people’s houses at night to place gifts in thick-ass socks and commandeers flying reindeers?
Speaking of gifts, the Bible records boy Jesus receiving gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Okay, the gold part is awesome but a) isn’t that a bit too much for a kid and b) what’s with the incense and oil?
Wouldn’t something from a 2,000-year-old Hamleys store be preferable? Or, wait, perhaps the Bible’s perspective of the purpose and nature of gifts differs somewhat from Harrods’?
The Bible’s understanding of gifts won’t help our economy very much because it lacks that element of fun, luxury for luxury’s sake and sheer coolness which is what Christmas gift-giving is all about, right?
It’s about buying awesome and usually pricey gifts which are totally Instagrammable.
Now that — instead of the preachy notion of gifts as synonymous with sacrifice and service — should’ve been added into Christian Scripture.
I always get pissed when Christians talk to me about the “true meaning” of Christmas because what could be truer than Asians celebrating an occasion which speaks of a birth which happened in the Middle East, but doing so a) in the form of a tradition started by the ancient Germanic peoples, and b) via lots and lots of shopping.
Okay, so there’s something special about this baby boy. Come to save the world or whatever. How? Not sure.
He couldn’t even help his mum and dad defeat a murderous tyrant. Instead, this baby’s family just ran and waited. Like someone really patient wanted Time to work its magic or something.
Boring. At least Hercules killed two serpents with his bare hands before he could even urinate properly.
But the Bible failed to include all these more interesting elements of early heroics, choosing instead of talk about angels singing, a star which doubled as a GPS for some Persian priests and, uh, shepherds.
Instead of low-class segments of ancient Jewish community (i.e. the shepherds) or uncool folks (ie. the priests), the Bible should’ve turned on the celebrity juice.
Maybe the Judean equivalent of Kim Kardashian could’ve rocked Christmas with her beauty and desirability, or Barack Obama should’ve showed up and gave a leadership seminar right before blowing away the bad guys.
But no, you got a couple travelling long distances across the desert with a kid whose father wasn’t his mum’s husband. Pity the mum. What would people say, right?
And yet, two millennia later, Christians celebrate this baby’s birth because, according to the Bible, he would save the world from evil. Somehow.
Me? I’m just looking for more savings in KL Pavilion. No need to worry about the rest of the world; it sure doesn’t look like it needs saving.
Malaysia has all it needs; whatever our issues and problems, our ministers and entrepreneurs will make things right.
No need to “repeat the sounding joy” of a new kind of king, born in Bethlehem, a long time ago. One who brings a peace that transcends IQ measures, who talks about responding to evil with goodness and a future hope no mind can conceive of.
We’re good. We got this. Merry Christmas.
* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.