This will be my first time adding my thoughts to the 12 Days of Christmas annual series here at Beneath the Tangles. As I am more inclined to play video games than watch anime (though I have watched over 100 anime), I decided to write about a certain game that is pretty short. One of the systems by SEGA that didn’t do too well here in the USA was the Sega Saturn. SEGA released several games that are cult classics today on that console, and one of those was NIGHTS into Dreams. This game was all about dreams and nightmares, in which a boy and girl enter another world to stop the nefarious plans of Wizeman with the help of Nights–the jester-like character that you control in the game. Wizeman wants to take over the lands of Nightmare and Nightopia-where all dreams are played out-and then the entire world! Of course, someone has to stop him, and it is up to Elliot and Claris to do so. I never got to play this game, since I did not own a Sega Saturn (I did get to borrow a Dreamcast for a very long time though!), but I have heard about it many times.
There is an extra side-story in this game called Christmas NIGHTS into Dreams, where our two young heroes go back into the dream world to retrieve a star. While they are walking around a crowd of people, they notice that everyone seems rushed and not focused on why this season holds importance. They see a large tree that is missing something—its star at the top! The game then sends the player off to get it with the help of Nights. When they finally get it, it’s revealed that it was all a dream. Instead of having a physical star on the tree, their joy spreads to those around them by “giving a star of happiness to the hearts of everyone.”
The plot is simple enough, and this is actually a very short part of the actual game. I chose this particular scene because of how it represents Christmas and its power to change how people feel. When we think about Christmas, it’s about one person and that is Jesus Christ. His birth, and what it means for so many people around the world, causes comfort because of the hope it brings. For a Christian, this holiday season is about giving thanks to our Savior and Friend, Jesus Christ. I have read that it’s not verified that Christ was born on December 25th, but the exact date is irrelevant. There’s no power in a month, week, or day; the power comes from His forgiveness for our sins and the fact that He rose from the dead after three days.
Wherever Christmas is celebrated around the world, there is one constant that remains, and that’s family. It can be a large get-together, a party at a friend’s house, or just a few folks around the dinner table. Having everyone together is an exciting time, but maybe this isn’t the most family-orientated time for some, and I can completely relate. I myself don’t have a big family, and all my friends are with their relatives, so my wife and I often spend it on our own. We have each other, thank God, but it can be a little sad when there aren’t many people around to enjoy this time with. Personally, this actually helps me focus more on worship and gratefulness to my God for what He has done in my life. Sure, this is a time of presents and Christmas music (which I really enjoy!) along with delicious food, but many have fallen into the trap of turning this into a day of consumerism. Our attention is on how much money we have to spend on gifts for people we barely talk to, instead of doing something simple like giving our time and encouragement.
Whether you are a Christian or not, help at least one person in need during this season. It could be an old friend you haven’t spoken to, a co-worker or peer in school, whoever it may be. Everyone appreciates some positive words, hope, and cheer, so be sure to go out of your way for someone. We can learn from Elliot and Claris, who wanted to see others happy instead of focusing on buying presents. They decided to go and find the star to create some joy and Christmas spirit in the people, a task they didn’t have to do. It was their gift to their world, small but memorable. Even if you do not get any gifts in return, they aren’t given for getting one back. They are freely given, freely received.
7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.