Day 5 – Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve consists of dinner at my sister’s house, followed by a candlelight worship service at Woodforest Presbyterian Church. Our family tradition is to open one gift on Christmas Eve. For our kids, the gift is always pajamas so they have something new to wear on Christmas morning. For Ren Zhe, we give her a soft and fuzzy pair of socks with Shea Butter from Bath & Body Works.
Day 6 – Christmas Day
We spend Christmas Day at my mother’s house and enjoy good food and great company. The kids play games, and as always, Ren Zhe is an enthusiastic participant. She teaches them a card game she plays in China, and they call it "slaps" since Ren Zhe isn't sure the American name.
Today, I am surprised by Ren Zhe's intuitiveness. We play the game, Loaded Questions, and on one of the questions she very easily answers correctly that "too much to do" is one of my worries. I guess I am pretty transparent when it comes to stress.
I also learn that many of the people of Shanghai, China are Buddhist. There are many Buddha, unlike Christianity which has just one God. Taught to live a good life, Buddhist believe what they do in this lifetime determines what they will become in their next life, or rebirth. The worst is to come back as a bull or a horse, since everything is packed on their backs.
In Shanghai, people may get together to celebrate Christmas but it typically only involves dinner and well wishes for a happy Christmas. It has no religious significance. Christmas trees and decorations are not usually used in the homes and most people work, as it is not a major holiday.
Merry Christmas! While I'm not so sure I've done a good job preparing my heart during the Advent season, I am happy to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ with my family and loved ones, and with our new friend Ren Zhe, from China.