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Map1 brings unique insights in understanding China from the POV of a Christian who has lived in the Middle Kingdom for more than 12 years in 4 different cities as a university instructor and Mandarin language student. He’s traveled to more than 40 cities throughout the country and recently married a Chinese Christian girl whom he met through CLM/ALM.
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Christmas in Shanghai    

By Map1
1319 Views | 12 Comments | 12/24/2018 12:35:13 PM

Christmas in China - Beauty Abounds

After a long hiatus, due to some personal issues, I offer this article about some of my memorable Christmas experiences in Shanghai. Next time I will post the article I originally planned to publish.

My colleagues and I took a rather large group of students from the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Trade to a Christmas Eve service at the Three-Self or government-sponsored church. We met at the front gate, which probably gave the school officials some concern. Fortunately, we left the campus a couple of hours earlier as the two buses broke down en route. As we arrived at a packed church, we were able to find seats in the balcony. For many of them, it was the first time ever that they attended a church service. Several of them had looked up some of the possible spiritual vocabularies in their Chinese-English Dictionaries in order to translate for their foreign teachers. It was one of my most memorable Christmas Eve’s ever!

Our International Fellowship consisting of consulate workers, business persons, language students, teachers, African students completing either a bachelor or master’s degree in Chinese! It was one of the few places where I experience true koine fellowship as intended by the Scriptures. We had a tradition of holding a Christmas Eve service. And at one such service, we shared about our Christmas celebrations, customs, and experiences either back home or in China. A young man named Andy shared about how he was teaching an English class and the power went out, which was not unusual for Shanghai in those days.  So, some of his students scrounged up some candles. He asked if anyone knew a song, they could all sing. They all knew “Silent Night” and promptly broke out in the chorus. Then Andy told the class the Christmas story of Christ’s incarnation as a humble little baby.  Then he proceeded to tell of the Easter narrative of His crucifixion, death on the cross for all mankind’s sins and resurrection. Even though it wasn’t the Christmas season it was his best Christmas memory ever! Jenny, a teacher from New Zealand told the congregation of the first Christmas Eve from the shepherd’s perspective. Kiwis are very familiar with the shepherding profession being one of the largest producers of wool and lamb in the world.

During the Advent season, the local Three-Self Church held Advent Services in English.  So, we invited our students to join us as they could hear the Christmas message and practice their English listening. We arrived and the usher told us we could only come into the sanctuary with a few Chinese friends and sit in the front pew. We told her all of them are our friends. So, the usher reluctantly allowed us to enter.

I also joined an ex-pat choir. We prepared several Christmas songs to perform at various venues, both secular and sacred. We were able to perform in one of the Advent Services at the Three-Self Church. Also, we performed at the British Christmas party. The Puritans refused to celebrate Christmas because it was basically a drunken affair. The dinner party in Shanghai was no different. Our choir sang the only Christmas song that put the holiday in perspective.

Shangdan Kuaile! (Merry Christmas!)

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2018-12-24 12:47:30 by Map1 @Map1

Hey Map1, you have made us wait quite a while for this post, but the timing couldn't have been better.  It's nice to have a real Christmas blog to post the day before Christmas takes place. 2 days if you're in the Americas.

My experience of Christmas in China has been that it is one of the biggest bar parties of any day in China, but that was as a bar owner in China. It is nice to read about real Christmas experiences of real Christian Chinese. It must have been, as you indicate, a very moving experience for them and for those Westerners like yourself who were priviledged to share it. 

I envy you that experience.

I admit that you have also managed to introduce a word to me that I am not familiar with, which is unusual for me. My English vocabulary is pretty good. But I am puzzled by the word "koine" and I decided not to look it up, but rather to ask you to give us the definiton of it. So what does "koine" mean, please?

#2018-12-24 13:38:34 by paulfox1 @paulfox1

sheng dan kuai le

To those who are not comatosed - Happy Saturnalia !

Have a beer on Barry (beer)

#2018-12-24 15:25:19 by Barry1 @Barry1



Hello Mark.  A very nice tale, thank you for sharing. You are indeed a welcome addition to these forums, a veritable breath of sorely-needed, fresh air.


However, let me advise that on a personal basis, I believe Christmas right around the Western world, has been largely taken over by a selfish secular society, focussed primarily on selling their wares, if they are a retailer. Or for those non-merchants, most are running around having a holiday, not giving any serious, considered thoughts to the fundamental message or importance of what Christmas supposedly represents.  And then to exacerbate matters, most Westerners then stuff themselves with a large Christmas dinner during this time.


My research has shown that Jesus' true birthday is NOT 25 December.  Christmas in fact is little more than a huge commercial fraud, taken over by vested interests in pursuit of goods turnover and money.


As for Christmas dinner, does anyone give a hoot about the plight of the millions of sheep, cows, pigs or turkeys that were typically herded together in terror, before being summarily slaughtered, in order to fill the gluttonous bellies of those unthinking people who gorge themselves upon the results of such contemptible cruelty? What did you eat for Christmas lunch or dinner, may I ask?


Jesus Christ personifies love (including the love of animals, a fact conveniently ignored by huge numbers of so-called Christians). I proffer the view however, that these days, the true spirit of Christmas has been manifestly, if not appallingly, hijacked by the love of self-indulgence, the love of hedonism and the love of money.  Gross hypocrisy on a grand and most obscene scale.


May Jesus Christ with His infinite mercy forgive us all. 


Amen.   :^)



#2018-12-27 13:44:48 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot
















@everyone else

Given what appear to be major upcoming shifts in the sociopolitical atmosphere in China, I am suspending Conspiracy Corner here on CLM, and any comments relating to political or conspiracy type matters.

To be clear I will not be approving any comments that are of negative towards China in anyway, nor comments that promote or even discuss any topics that are considered to be unacceptable to the Chinese authorities.

I welcome any thoughts you may have, or questions you have, by writing to me at and write Attn John in the subject line.

Likewise bloggers who have current conspiracy type blogs waiting for posting, or plans to post some in the future, please write me as mentioned above and express your thoughts and concerns.

If you can be patient I will be setting up a completely independent Conspiracy Corner site as part of our upcoming Health/Survival site and will welcome all bloggers and readers to take up the conspiracy topics and discussions there. 

I will be sending out a letter to all members on this issue to all members in the next few days.

#2018-12-28 00:14:00 by newbeginning @newbeginning

@JohnAbbot, given what I have been hearing from my friends in China I believe this is advisable. The last thing we want to do is be on the "radar" here. We also need to protect our members here as well.



#2019-01-06 04:03:49 by Dayton @Dayton

John, there comes a time in life that you have to take a step back and protect yourself. From what I have been reading & hearing from friends; you are making a wise decision. 


#2019-01-06 10:40:41 by Map1 @Map1

This is the 3 rd time that I've tried to post this comment.  Koine means community and fellowship, but this definition doesn't do the Greek word justice. The church should be a place where we can remove our masks, confess our sins, be challenged, encouraged, pray, worship, hear the Word and share our joys and tribulations. This is what I experienced at the Shanghai International Christian Fellowship, where I served as the Executive Pastor.

#2019-01-06 10:44:11 by Map1 @Map1

Paul and Barry are right as to the choosing of December 25th as the day we celebrate Christmas. The Roman Emperor wanted to counter the pagan celebration and focus on the incarnation of the Son of God into time and space. I saw an interesting YouTube video in which the pastor using the historical text, background, Jewish calendar and Festivals to determine the true date of Jesus Christ's birthday. He determined that it's March 2nd in the 4th circa. Makes sense.

#2019-01-06 22:36:11 by WarmLifeGz7 @WarmLifeGz7


I will give you a good tip and suggestion ... You are dealing with a disingenuous "turkey" with so many red herrings, logical fallacies and what not ....  I do not think you will even change him an iota ... Nor will he be able to do vice versa ...  He is like a snowstorm ... You just get finished digging out a path to the road ... when he will quickly dump more "brown stuff" ooops "white stuff "  it is endless ... the dog forever chasing its own tail ....

Thus be more careful with your terms ....   (giggle)(giggle)(giggle)

Koine has to do with the "language" not fellowship or a community ...

Greek word, κοινωνία, --- is the word you are looking for ...  if you are talking about fellowship etc ....

Koinonia -- is the phonetic ...  


Perichoresis (from Greek: περιχώρησις )

thus perichoretic koinonia is a profound concept to spend time considering... I am using it as an adj. here in order to doubly emphasize the relational sphere ...   The noun first appears in the writings of Maximus Confessor ...  but the related verb perichoreo is found earlier in Gregory of Nazianzus ... as did John of Damascus   -- Gregory belonged to the very famous Cappadocian Fathers ...  

These should be familiar to you ... hopefully that is .... as a previous Executive leader ...   8)8)8)



#2019-01-07 23:52:49 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

@Map1 - if you're having trouble submitting a comment you probably need to clear your browser of cookies, cache and history. Then restart your computer. 99% of the time that is the problem.

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