Bless your Chinese friends this Chinese New Year

The Stranger on The Road to Emmaus and red packets

Chinese New Year begins on February 10. It’s less than a month away! Chinese in Australia, Canada, the US, Europe and of course, in every corner of Asia are getting ready to celebrate this major festival on the Lunar calendar. Even people in Vietnam and Korea are preparing for their Lunar New Year. One of our Chinese staff members shares the following idea of using this occasion to share the gospel:

I love Chinese New Year! Greetings and wishes in red and gold adorn many houses while pots of New Year plants and lanterns grace the entrances. Mandarin oranges are carefully arranged in baskets alongside jars and trays of New Year goodies. The air is filled with the aroma of pots of delicacies gently cooking in the kitchen. Occasionally, you would hear the booms and clangs of drums and cymbals of a passing lion dance troupe.

It is a special occasion for us Chinese regardless of which part of the globe we live in, not in small part because it is a time for family reunions. There would be the all-important reunion dinner, typically held on the eve of Chinese New Year’s Day. Family from far and wide would gather that evening for a time of feasting and catching up. For many families, this would be the only time in the year where the entire clan would be together.

Chinese New Year’s Day would start with everyone dressing up in brand-new clothes. Children and adults alike, bearing two mandarin oranges in their hands, would greet each other and exchange oranges. Married people would hand out gifts in the form of little red envelopes (called red packets) with money in them, to the children and unmarried family and friends. (In Taiwan, working adults would also hand out red packets to non-working adults.) Friends would visit each other and spend time catching up over plates of New Year snacks.

So much excitement, so much family time each Chinese New Year!

Perhaps some of your family and friends are unbelievers. If so and if you are celebrating Chinese New Year this year with people who are dear to you, consider bringing along a few copies of “The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus” (in traditional or simplified Chinese) or copies of “By This Name”. You may get an opportunity to hand out a book to a family member or friend who expresses interest in the Bible.

Even if you’re not Chinese but have Chinese friends, why not consider giving them one of these books as a gift. And remember, it’s polite in Chinese culture to present a gift with both hands. You just may bless them with the best news they would hear in 2013.

If you are not quite sure what to say when giving away a book, here’s a sample script you might like to adapt:

“I have received so many blessings in my life but the biggest blessing I have received was someone taking the time to tell me about the message of the Bible. I have here a book that explains the main message of the Bible clearly and objectively. I would really like to give it to you as a New Year blessing as well.”

Order the books now to get them in time for Chinese New Year.

Resources: The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus is available in a number of languages including Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Korean. Check the list of available translations.

(Do be extra sensitive in handing out books. Some relatives and friends may shun books at Chinese New Year because the Chinese word for ‘book’ [shu] sounds like the word for ‘lose’ [shu]. Please use discernment.)

 

Author: Amos Kwok

Curriculum development manager at the international office.