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Christ in the New Year: Spicing Up Chinese Traditions with Love and Faith

As the Chinese New Year season dawns upon us, believers in Christ are presented with a unique opportunity to represent Christ amidst the rich heritage and cultural practices of the Chinese people. Chinese New Year also known as the Spring Festival, symbolizes renewal, prosperity, and the coming together of families. Steeped in the heritage of the Chinese is the exercise of generosity and loyalty to family, seen in the giving of red packets and visiting the homes of relatives during Chinese New Year.

Opportunity to Represent Christ

This Chinese New Year, millions of Chinese people will go out to visit the homes of their relatives and welcome visitors to their own homes, presenting not only an opportunity to renew familial ties but also to share with family members gifts of love and goodness, in the message of Jesus Christ. As we bring blessings and goodwill through the giving of mandarin oranges, can we not also bring a gift of a testimony of God’s goodness in our lives? As we welcome relatives and loved ones into our homes, are these not also opportunities to share how we live out our aspirations to be Christ-followers? In the midst of the festivities, we are called to be the light of the world, offering encouragement and hope in a darkened world because of our faith in Christ.

In an increasingly globalized world, it is not uncommon to find foreigners living & working near us. Last year, my family invited our neighbours, a group of Filipinos working in Singapore to have a meal with us. Through eating together, we learned how they longed for and missed their families in the Philippines. It was a privilege to host the 6 of them as we squeezed around the dining table, sharing stories of family over food. After that evening, we continued to share food and exchange gifts with each other. We even visited the beach together. Chinese New Year (CNY) is a great opportunity to share warmth and encouragement with our expatriate friends, and food always brings people together.

Opportunity to Reflect Christ

God made room in his heart for us while we were still steeped in sin, so also, we can make room in our hearts for relatives who do not yet know Christ. As Christ invited us into His kingdom, and spread a table before us, so also, we can invite others into our homes to share food together and exchange blessings. One time, we had an Aussie family over for CNY lunch, after louhei together, and a little CNY song singalong (with the help of Youtube cast on our TV), I asked to pray a blessing over this family. With their permission, we did so for each family member. They felt so blessed and asked to do the same the next year. Welcoming others into our homes, sharing meals and exchanging blessings mirrors Christ’s invitation to all into His kingdom. Through such acts of hospitality, we reflect His boundless love and grace, creating sacred moments reminiscent of the communion Christ shared with His disciples.

Opportunity to Renew our Relationship with Christ

Chinese New Year serves not only as a time for cultural celebration but also as an opportunity for spiritual reflection and renewal. Just as families come together to usher in the new year, Christians can gather in fellowship to renew their commitment to Christ and intercede for the salvation of those around them. Our ultimate hope rests not in customs and superstitions, but in Jesus Christ, the steadfast anchor of our souls and the longing of all nations (Heb 6:19; Hag 2:7).

Let us seize this Chinese New Year as a meaningful occasion to share the love of Christ within our families and communities, embracing the Great Commission make disciples of all nations. In doing so, we honour the true essence of this festive season and extend the boundless grace of Christ to all.

Matthew is the Head of Bartley Community Outreach and is married to Janice, and together they have two awesome kids, Ezra and Elise. He enjoys rock-climbing and rollerblading, chatting, and laughing over food.

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