How should a Chinese Christian celebrate the Chinese New Year?
The question is relevant.
For Chinese, in China and in ethnic communities around the world, the lunar new year is the most important and most festive holiday of the year. Through centuries of China’s agrarian tradition, this was the one period when farmers could rest from their work in the fields. Family members from near and far would travel to be with loved ones in time to usher out the old year and welcome in the new, with great celebratory flourish.
With more than 3-4000 years history, the Chinese have been building on ancient customs of New Year celebrations. They vary from region to region, from village to village, and even from family to family. Some of these customs are steeped in mythology, astrology and superstition. The number of them can seem infinite, what the average Singaporean practises today is just the tip of a large and ancient iceberg.
But how should a Chinese Christian celebrate it?
The guiding principle for this and indeed, all other Christian activities is: the Christian should keep in mind his or her “chief aim” in life, that is, the principle of glorifying God in all he or she does.
If the custom or practice you engage in is glorifying to God, then by all means, go ahead; if not, refrain tactfully.
The one key tradition that the Christian can participate in is of course the family reunion dinner. And associated with that the visits to family and relatives, the exchanging of oranges, ang pows, and greetings. These are all gestures of goodwill and love.
Those are activities we can engage in to show off the love of God especially when we accompany them with prayers for those you visit — prayers for them to live God-glorifying lives, if they are Christians; if they are not, then pray for their salvation.
May God help us all in this and all seasons of our lives to glorify Him.
Pastor Robert Chew