Dear Brethren,

Let me wish everyone a blessed and spiritually purposeful lunar new year! There is nothing wrong for Chinese Christians to celebrate our new year but we must be careful not to imbibe traditions and values that are against the teachings of the Bible.

Chinese New Year is the most important event on the Chinese calendar. The beginning of the lunar year symbolizes the act of starting afresh with renewed hopes. It is also a time to renew ties with family and friends, through family reunion dinners and visits.

The followings are the traditional symbols associated with Chinese New Year. For Christians, we do not follow the practices and beliefs that are against the Word of God. Instead, we can consider a Christian perspective to these symbols and let our minds be filled with the Spirit to sanctify and renew us even through this lunar new year period.

House Cleaning: This is a good tradition to follow that we should take time to keep our room neat and clean before the new year. From the spiritual perspective, Christians should also see the new year as an opportune time to examine our hearts before God to have a heart clean and cleansed by the precious blood of our Lord and Saviour Christ.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23-24

New Clothes: It is a common practice to wear new clothes during the new year. Again, there is nothing wrong for Christians to follow. But beware of following the fashion of this world. Christians should always dress modestly to honour the Lord and maintain a good testimony that we are not of this world.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

Feasting: There will be lots of good food and feasting in the new year. Christians ought to be thankful for God’s provision and to give thanks to say grace without shame publicly. Also remember the Christian virtue of hospitality, especially for those less fortunate, to share with them our provisions.

Ang Pow: In wishing one another a blessed new year, ang pows – red packets containing money – are given to children, parents, grandparents or others. It is good to show love and filial piety, and giving ang pows is acceptable as long as we understand them as gestures of love and appreciation rather than symbols of an unhealthy preoccupation with wealth.

Astrology:  It is a superstitious belief that the animal ruling a person’s birth year exercises a profound influence on his life. Horoscopes have developed around the animal signs. These religious horoscopes, though popular, are dangerous superstitions. The practice of astrology is condemned in the Bible. The occultic use of charts, or the worship of celestial bodies like the moon and stars to predict businesses, relationships or the future, is strictly forbidden in the Bible which includes consulting a geomancer (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; Isaiah 47:12-13). As Christians, let us be careful not to propagate, in the name of culture, superstitious practices that are clearly condemned in the Word of God.

Spring Couplet: Christians should not display words of material prosperity and luck in our home. Instead, we can display Bible verses and Christian teachings so as to remind ourselves of the Word of God. It is also a good testimony to unbelievers visiting our home to see the Word of God prominently displayed.

Elder John Leong