Monday, January 9, 2017

Ringing in the New Year

I've seen some Christian parents who want to keep the cultural significance of Chinese New Year in their child's life but have concern with the emphasis on spirits and luck.  I started reading all of the traditions that come with Chinese/Lunar New Year and I saw Jesus all over it. Christians have taken other cultures' traditions and holidays and used them as a way to celebrate God throughout history. I believe there is a way to remember the Chinese stories behind this holiday while modifying them for a Christian home.

The preparations for Chinese New Year begin with cleaning out your home and just having a fresh start. This is a great opportunity for all of us to do some early Spring cleaning and talk about the new life we all get with Christ. He washes away our sins and gives all of us new life. This could also be a great time to donate items that we don't need to those in our community who do.

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

People put up "god images" and/or Chinese phrases on their doors. Maybe this would be a good time to put up a new scripture in your home. This could be a word that God has laid on your heart for this year or this season. I believe we should be surrounded by His word.

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Having a meal with friends and family on Chinese New Year is one of the central parts of celebrating. This is such an easy, fun way to bring Chinese New Year into your community. Invite people over and make or buy your favorite Chinese dishes. Fellowship and share stories of what God has done this last year.

They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. Acts 2:46

Another very big part of Chinese New Year is the color red and the giving of money in red envelopes. Instantly, I think about the precious blood of Jesus and the incredible gift He gave us all by dying for us. My kids earn money each week through doing their chores but I think it would be a beautiful way to celebrate if I gave them red envelopes in addition to their weekly "commission". We could talk about how Jesus gave himself for us, not because we earned it but because of His great love.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 1:18-19

There are various ways people honor their ancestors during Chinese New Year but I think it is beautiful to stop and remember those we all have lost in our lives. Instead of having a shrine or sweeping tombs, a Christian family can talk about what we loved about those people who we have lost and the glorious hope we have of seeing them again. 

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13

The lantern festival is the end of the whole New Year celebration and an opportunity to talk about being a light in our community with Christ shining through us.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14

So this is how our family will celebrate Chinese New Year. We will also talk about the Chinese origins and hopefully attend some local events by cultural groups in our area.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! Great ideas! I pinned this on my "China Love" Pinterest board. :)