Dear BA Family,
Happy Chinese New Year to all of you! For those of us who celebrate the occasion, the Spring Festival is a significant time in the calendar year. It is a time that represents the desire for new life as it marks the end of winter and the start of spring – a new spring year. This is a time of joyous celebrations marked by well wishes, customs, communal gatherings, and of course, feasting!
One of the great attractions of this festival is the enjoyment of new things. But like the seasons, winter comes round again. And whatever that was new will fade and become old. Is there a “new” thing that can last forever or has unchanging permanence?
- Chinese New Year is a great time to ponder about all things “new”. We tend to associate Chinese New Year with new clothes, new furniture, or even a new hairstyle! Yet in my own reflections, these new possessions are nothing compared to being made new in Christ Jesus! “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Paul tells us that all those who believe in Jesus have died with Him and no longer live for themselves. And that belief in Jesus makes all things new! Unlike the things of earthly impermanence, being a new creation involves having a new (relationship with God), a new state of mind and a new life! And we can look forward to the final celebration when the new heaven and new earth will come and will never fade away.
- Chinese New Year is a great opportunity to gather with our loved ones and show them Christ. All the greetings and wishes like “wan shi ru yi” (gaining ten thousand things according to your wishes” or “shen ti jian kang” (having good health) are all good things that we can wish for each other. As Christians, we can wish our loved ones something even better – the good news of Jesus Christ!
Since being a new creation is the best thing that can happen in one’s life, instead of temporary well wishes and blessings, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to pass on the saving news of Jesus who offers them new life? “Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).
- Chinese New Year is a time to give thanks and spend time with our church family. Every year, our mandarin gathering meets on the first day of the new year (chu yi) to sing praises to God, listen to the bible preached, and offer thanksgiving to God for his blessings. We do this because we are members of God’s family (1 Tim 3:15). As Christians, we have another family that is of great importance. More than a place for social gatherings, the church is a place where the family of God meets to love, care, support, and encourage one another. Let’s persevere to keep reuniting at our Sunday Gatherings, our small group meetings or through our daily interactions.
Dear brothers and sisters, while we are still in the midst of the festive season, will we pause to think about the “new” things that will come and go? Will we still work for things that will perish and have no eternal value when Jesus returns? Or shall we focus on this new status of eternal life that our King Jesus has given us so freely on the cross?
Praying for you.
Your brother in Christ,