Celebrating the Chinese New Year
Happy Chinese New Year… Happy Lunar New Year… Happy Spring Festival!
One out of every 5 people in the world is Chinese. The Spring Festival, also known as Chinese New Year, or the Lunar New Year, is today, February 5, 2019. This is the most important holiday in all of China, and causes the largest human migration in the world!
During this 15 day holiday, people from China celebrate their families, prosperity, good health, and good luck. Celebrating New Year’s Eve dinner at home with family, and honoring relatives, is an important part of this time. So many people travel to their hometowns in China that 60 days before the holiday 1000 airplane tickets are sold per second!
Right here in Raleigh, in our ESL Classes with the Ministry to Internationals at Forest Hills Baptist Church, we welcomed 181 students from around the world in 2018. One out of every 2 of these international students was from China.
What an incredible opportunity God has provided us! Imagine that a Chinese Student is far from home during this holiday. It is safe to think that they are thinking and missing their family, wishing that they could be together with them on this day. Perhaps they fear the unknown of their future?
We have the opportunity to welcome international students into the family of God. We can share the true peace and eternal security with God through Jesus Christ.
As Paul shared with another church in Philippi, he says to us:
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
It is your mission this week to say, “xin nian kuai le” (pronounced: shin nee-an kwai luh), which is a formal greeting typically used for strangers and means “New Year happiness,” in Mandarin Chinese. But do not stop there, ask an international student about their family, and listen to their story. Invite a student to lunch on Sunday after church. Offer to pray for them, and show them the peace you have in Christ.
Do what we have learned from God’s Word in Philippians 4:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—
Share that peace when you share the greeting, “xin nian kuai le,” with a new friend from China.