Celebrating Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year!  There is a fantastic buzz around this annual festival.  I particularly enjoy the way ancient traditions are put out on full display, as Hong Kong connects with its rich history through food and decorations, as well as through cultural and family rituals and customs.  As Christians, there are great points of connection between the way we celebrate CNY and the normal Christian life.

Two aspects of CNY stand out to me.  Firstly, the widespread spoken blessings shared between neighbours, friends, and families.  I have fond memories of gathering with friends and family and hearing the festive greetings as we speak blessing, hope, and health over one another.  Some of the more common ones I’m sure we’ll hear many dozens of times during this holiday season. 

This taps into a key aspect of the Bible’s vision for humanity and Christians in particular: our words are powerful!  We are made in the image of God who brought forth creation by the power of his word.  One of titles by which Jesus is revealed to us is as the Word of God.  So, reflecting God, our words are a powerful force.  Our words, not least because of the fall, don’t have the same immediate and ultimate authority that God’s words have, but nevertheless there is significance to the words we speak.  Proverbs says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  We can be a blessing to others in the words we speak, not just in festive greetings, but through all our daily speech.  Proverbs also says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”  Let’s be conscious of how our words can be used to build others up, bringing hope and joy to others, as we put into practice what we see in our wonderful, life-giving God.

we can reflect the nature and character of God

Secondly, it is a season of generosity.  It is a joyful time of meals with friends and family as we share hospitality and open our lives to one another.  There is, too, the joyful giving and receiving of red packets that so many young people look forward to!  This is another incredible way we can reflect the nature and character of God.  As God exuberantly pours out his abundance on us, he loves for us to respond by being cheerful givers.  What would it say about Jesus and our relationship with him if we were known as the Christians who exercise profound generosity in the sacrificial giving of our time, energy, and resources to all those we cross paths with?

So, let me take this opportunity, along with the whole staff team at St. Andrew’s, to wish you a very happy Chinese New Year! May you know the incredible blessings and abundance of God in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, and may that blessing overflow from you to all those you meet.

Associate Minister