Blessed New Year!
Every culture has aspects which are in line with Biblical teachings, because mankind is made in the image of God. On the other hand, every culture is also tainted by the Fall of Adam and Eve.
While Christians avoid participating in those aspects of culture that cause people to go further away from God, we can and should encourage those aspects which promote Biblical values.
The Chinese New Year or Spring Festival involves many practices that promote filial piety and family togetherness. There is the traditional reunion dinner on New Year Eve. Relatives and friends are visited over a period of fifteen days. Red packets containing monetary gifts are given by “seniors” to their “juniors”.
These are good traditions that Christians can gladly participate and promote, as the fifth commandment itself and the Bible in general emphasize the importance of the family and inter-personal relationships..
As regards New Year greetings, Christians wish people “Happy New Year”, or as the Teochews say “xin nian ru yi” (“May your wishes come true”). We avoid wishing people “gong xi fa cai” which means “May you suddenly become very rich”. Suddenly becoming very rich is unlikely to happen to ordinary working folk. As for gamblers, sudden riches may just lead to addiction to gambling.
Let us remember that true blessings come from God, and not by using particular “symbols”, or saying some magical formulae.
May God bless you and your circle of contacts this New Year.
Elder Dr Ng Hwee Hin