Christmas in Ghost Hunt started the way Christmas probably does for many people: hanging up Christmas decorations and vaguely wondering why they are celebrating the holiday in the first place.
The scene starts with Mai putting up a Christmas tree at the Shibuya Psychic Research Center when Naru comes in, stares blankly at it, and tells her to take it down, because he couldn’t have something as colorful and cheery as a Christmas tree in his presence. The psychic Masako enters and loves the tree. Then Houshou, a Buddhist monk, and Ayako, a shrine maiden, follow in and they all like the tree so much Naru decides he doesn’t want to fight with them and is content with just giving an annoyed look.
Then the Houshou and Ayako ask:
“Ayoko: You’re a monk and you celebrate Christmas?
Houshou: What about you? You’re a priestess, right?”
After that, Father John Brown comes in and tells them they have a case at a church, and everyone gets excited because Christmas definitely needs to involve a church somehow, but no one is really sure why.
What followed is probably the only Christmas special I’ve ever seen with possessions and an exorcism. It also had a pretty sad but heartwarming story about an orphan that froze to death and played hide-and-seek as a ghost until someone found his body. The two-parter ends with the gang going off to have a Christmas party, because you have to have a Christmas party….apparently. I think Santa might have been in the episodes at some point as well.
The special got me thinking about the many reasons people celebrate Christmas, Christian and non-Christian.
For many, Christmas is about family. It’s about seeing family, eating with family, and driving hundreds of miles to be with family. For some, it’s about decorations, presents, and “battle in a shopping mall” as Hetalia’s Japan would say. For others, it’s about loneliness and a reminder of something they lost or never had in the first place.
For me, the meaning of Christmas has changed over the years. When I was little, Christmas was all about special. It was a special time when everything was decorated and had a special meaning. We had special clothes, special food, special trips, a special church service. Everything was special….. and then there were the presents.
When I got older, Christmas was about having a break and doing things with the family. I didn’t have to go to school and I spent that time with my immediate family and extended family that came for a visit. Then…..there were the presents.
After I turned 18 , the meaning probably had its most radical change. For Christians, Christmas is used to celebrate the birth of Christ.
To me, when you celebrate someone’s birthday, like a friend or relative, you are telling that person, “I’m happy you exist. You being born added to my life and I appreciate your existence.” That year, the holiday took on a very different meaning because of who Christ had become to me. I actually got excited about the church service instead on wanting to hurry through it because it was a time that I could say that very phrase in a special way. It’s also the year that O, Holy Night became my favorite Christmas carol because that song completely encompass what Christmas is to me, especially a certain part.
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Christmas is a time where I can say thank you. It’s an opportunity to stop and specifically remember and celebrate someone so important to me.It lets my, in a tiny way give a gift to him after he gave me a gift of infinite value.
And…of course…. there are still the presents….although they’re now significantly less important.