12 Days of Christmas Anime, Day 3: OreGairu

It seems like every anime series has a Christmas episode these days, but OreGairu goes one better – it has a Christmas story arc. For a big chunk of season two, Hikigaya (and later the entire Service Club) assists Iroha on the student council’s Christmas project. It’s a really full arc – lots of character development, lots of laugh (see hand-waving business-talk guy), a failed confession, and, oh yeah, crying Hiki. It’s fabulous.

And right in the middle of the arc, as kind of a denouement to the season-long screw-twisting when the Service Club was falling apart, we get a fun episode. It’s a much-needed valve for the characters and for the audience. And oh yeah, it also happens to teach us something about when we’re getting, well, screwed by the holiday season.

oregairu 9b
Hiki, you can at least PRETEND you’re happy, like Hayato over there

In a fun episode that doesn’t really make much sense in terms of storyline (but complete sense when you think about the way light novels are arranged – short, fun chapter now!), Shizuka takes the Service Club and Iroha aside and tells them all about the meaning of Christmas:

“You guys don’t seem to know what Christmas is all about. I’ll show you what it’s all about…”

oregairu christmas
Find the true meaning of Christmas. Win MONEY, MONEY, MONEY…er, wait, wrong Christmas special…

Of course, Christmas is not about *JANG JANG* romance or decorations or money or consumerism. But I’m not here to tell that same old tale. In the west, we know it’s about Christ’s birth, but sometimes Christians get really super focused on explaining the real meaning of Christmas (which isn’t a bad thing) to the extent that we become bitter and demonstrate ungrace to the world (which is a bad thing).

In a rapidly changing country, it’s natural for Christians to feel “under attack.” That’s not necessarily a correct evaluation (and what’s more, the Bible indicates that we should invite persecution), but it’s forth by media (the War on Christmas!), politics, and culture. For many Christians, unless they’re specifically trying to be kind, trying to love, trying to personally focus on the holiday, they’ll fall prey to a very un-Christianlike mentality, a hypocritical attitude that yells, “It’s all about Jesus, idiots (or baka, if you prefer)!”

There is a solemnness to Christmas and there’s so much significance to it, but Christians would do well to remember that it’s also a celebration. It’s a time to rejoice as it marks the coming of the King, the coming of the One who would save the world. And while I think there’s ample opportunity for Christians to tell non-Christians about the message of December 25th, it’s also an opportunity for Christ followers to demonstrate the joy of the holiday in a simpler way, through festivities and fun.

In other words, Christians, learn a little from the kids in OreGairu. Loosen up, delight in the holiday, and have a Merry Christmas.

oregairu 9e
Yuki and Hiki need to lighten up, too.

featured image by あしたばてんぐ | reprinted with permission

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