Another busy week has passed in the blink of an eye. Where does the time go?
We did a whole lot of service... for kids. For kids? Does that mean dressing up like Santa and giving presents to innocent little Santa-believers while constantly going "Ho, ho, ho"? Bingo. It was surprisingly demanding to be Santa, especially because this Santa has to fold his legs and sit on the ground while trying to stuff food through his beard, speaking Japanese to enthusiastic boys and girls asking where their presents are. It was so much fun though and we will do more this week, too!
Christmas in Japan is so different from what I'm used to. Since Japanese culture and traditions are based on the Buddhist and Shinto religions, Christmas is merely adopted from Western culture and seen as a holiday of merchandise, shopping and... and... "Christmas cake" and "Christmas chicken " (KFC gets plundered on Christmas here in Japan). I remember my last Christmas before I went on a mission, in Germany. I still remember the lights, the carolers and this magical, quaint feeling in the air. I kind of miss celebrating Christmas like that.
Yesterday, however, I felt something even more than that magical feeling. I felt the true Christmas spirit as I got up on the stand in front of everyone in the Abeno ward. As I was talking about the Savior and Him being the True Christmas Gift, sent for our eternal welfare and happiness, sharing the well-known John 3:16, I felt a fire in my heart, a feeling of love and of gratitude and I knew that what I was sharing was true. I hope that the members felt the same fire in their hearts as I did. Our Savior truly lives! I'm really grateful for the opportunity I have to share the true meaning of Christmas and the very first Gift of Christmas with a people that has never known. I'm glad I get to spend such a wonderful season on the other side of the world.
I wish you all a blessed and wonderful Christmas and I hope you feel the joy this season is meant to bring. I love all of you! Be safe!