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RiverLife Weekly #43: My Chinese New Year Practices

I grew up in a family in which every of our Chinese New Year (CNY) visitation and reunion dinner were planned around my mum’s work shift. Her job as a chambermaid meant no off days on CNY, not even on the eve. I envied those families who were able to gather for reunion dinner and keep the tradition of CNY visitation together. Nonetheless, watching my hardworking parents and receiving their love and the fruit of their labour made me want to honour them whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

When I had my own family, I found that CNY was a time when I could teach my children life lessons and the Chinese culture; and impart important values to them. My son once asked me what the tradition of ‘守岁’ meant, and I took the opportunity to share with him the heart and purpose behind this observation of ‘守岁’ (the tradition of staying up late on CNY eve).

It is to:

  • ‘guard’ the health of one’s parents and bring longevity.
  • bid goodbye to the past year and usher in a fresh start in the new year.

Following are a few values I have passed on to my children:

1. Honour and Respect Your Elders

“Honour your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Growing up, I have learnt that filial piety is a central value in Chinese culture. As a Christian, I learnt that God desires for us to honour our parents, through whom we receive the gift of life. Respect for parents stems from gratitude towards them for their love and nurture towards us. Yet, parents are imperfect and honouring them may require much prayer and grace. But in choosing to honour them, we honour God who created and put us in families.

 

2. Bless Others

Our words have influence on the lives of people. Besides wishing one another “Happy New Year”, blessings spoken over others can bring hope, cheer and encouragement to those we meet. A spoken blessing is a positive, biblical statement that invokes the blessing of God in the life of another. Each blessing can be a prayer for the person to experience God’s love.

 

3. Connect Intentionally

CNY is a time for connection between families. During CNY gatherings, I’m able to catch up with relatives whom I’m unable to meet regularly. I have encouraged my children to share their testimony and pray for family members when the opportunity arises. A few years ago, my son approached my aunt who is handicapped and offered to pray for her. He laid his hands on her as he prayed and my aunt, who is a pre-believer was touched and said she never felt better. I was moved. This is what meaningful connection is about – connecting people to the reality and love of God.

In this age, we are used to texting each other on our mobile and our fast-paced lives mean that we are increasingly distant from one another. This is also worsened by the COVID pandemic. Even as we celebrate this CNY in unusual circumstances, may we never forget that we are created for relationship, and may we always be intentional in nurturing our relationships with family and friends.

 

Pastor Julia Sho

I grew up in a family in which every of our Chinese New Year (CNY) visitation and reunion dinner were planned around my mum’s work shift. Her job as a chambermaid meant no off days on CNY, not even on the eve. I envied those families who were able to gather for reunion dinner and keep the tradition of CNY visitation together. Nonetheless, watching my hardworking parents and receiving their love and the fruit of their labour made me want to honour them whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

When I had my own family, I found that CNY was a time when I could teach my children life lessons and the Chinese culture; and impart important values to them. My son once asked me what the tradition of ‘守岁’ meant, and I took the opportunity to share with him the heart and purpose behind this observation of ‘守岁’ (the tradition of staying up late on CNY eve).

It is to:

  • ‘guard’ the health of one’s parents and bring longevity.
  • bid goodbye to the past year and usher in a fresh start in the new year.

Following are a few values I have passed on to my children:

1. Honour and Respect Your Elders

“Honour your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12)

Growing up, I have learnt that filial piety is a central value in Chinese culture. As a Christian, I learnt that God desires for us to honour our parents, through whom we receive the gift of life. Respect for parents stems from gratitude towards them for their love and nurture towards us. Yet, parents are imperfect and honouring them may require much prayer and grace. But in choosing to honour them, we honour God who created and put us in families.

 

2. Bless Others

Our words have influence on the lives of people. Besides wishing one another “Happy New Year”, blessings spoken over others can bring hope, cheer and encouragement to those we meet. A spoken blessing is a positive, biblical statement that invokes the blessing of God in the life of another. Each blessing can be a prayer for the person to experience God’s love.

 

3. Connect Intentionally

CNY is a time for connection between families. During CNY gatherings, I’m able to catch up with relatives whom I’m unable to meet regularly. I have encouraged my children to share their testimony and pray for family members when the opportunity arises. A few years ago, my son approached my aunt who is handicapped and offered to pray for her. He laid his hands on her as he prayed and my aunt, who is a pre-believer was touched and said she never felt better. I was moved. This is what meaningful connection is about – connecting people to the reality and love of God.

In this age, we are used to texting each other on our mobile and our fast-paced lives mean that we are increasingly distant from one another. This is also worsened by the COVID pandemic. Even as we celebrate this CNY in unusual circumstances, may we never forget that we are created for relationship, and may we always be intentional in nurturing our relationships with family and friends.

 

Pastor Julia Sho

Posted On

February 16, 2021

Posted By

Pastor Julia Sho
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