Chinese New Year: Part IV

Chinese New Year is just around the corner! This year’s Chinese New Year will be celebrated on February 16. Over the course of these few weeks, I am writing a series of posts to help introduce this great holiday.

There is a great deal of symbolism involved in the decorations and traditions that surround Chinese New Year. Some of this symbolism comes from superstitions in Chinese society, some from plays on words in the Chinese language, and others from traditional Chinese legends.

Firecrackers are widely used on Chinese New Years Eve and throughout the fifteen-day holiday season between Spring Festival and Lantern Festival. Firecrackers are lit to scare away evil spirits and bad luck that would otherwise come in the new year. They are symbolic of the firecrackers used to scare away the legendary monster, Nian (more on Nian in the next post).

Firecracker Decorations

Fish is another common symbol around the new year. Fish shaped ornaments are used to decorate homes because the Chinese word for ‘fish’ sounds the same as the Chinese word for ‘abundance’ which means having more than you need of something. In this way, Chinese people hang up fish decorations in the hope that they will be prosperous in the new year.

Fish, or ‘Abundance’, Decoration

The 福 (pronounced Fu) character is commonly affixed upside down to the doors of homes at Chinese New Year. This is because Fu means blessing, and the Chinese character for ‘upside down’ sounds the same as the word for ‘arrive’. This is a play on words that means ‘Blessing arrives’.

Upside-down 福,’Blessing Arrives’

Even the food at Chinese New Year isn’t exempt from symbolism. Dumplings represent togetherness, noodles represent longevity (long life), and sticky rice cakes signify improving fortune.

Dumplings for ‘togetherness’

There is truly a great amount of symbolism throughout the Chinese New Year celebration. Symbolism can be found in almost every part of the holiday. One of the most interesting points of symbolism, however, is surprisingly similar to a symbol found in the Bible. But more on that in the last post…

February 2018 Prayer Letter

Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,

The Lord gave us a great start to the new year in January! He has blessed us in innumerable ways over the course of the month. All praise and honor belongs to Him! The Lord allowed us to present our ministry in  11 different churches in GA, SC, NC, TN, and VA. The Lord has also greatly blessed my time on the phone scheduling meetings. As our calendar currently stands, we only have 6 openings remaining for meetings in the 2018 calendar year! God is good!

Please be in prayer for Chinese people as they get ready to celebrate their biggest holiday, Spring Festival. Also known as Chinese New Year, Spring Festival will be celebrated on February 16 this year.  Please pray that Chinese believers would use this opportunity with family to share the gospel with them. Also pray that the Lord would raise up more laborers so that those Chinese who look to the new year for wealth and good fortune would find their hope in Jesus Christ.

For the month of February, we are scheduled to be in 15 different churches in NC, SC, FL, VA, TN, and GA. Please pray for us as we travel to these churches and share our burden to reach China’s billions with the gospel. Please continue praying that the Lord would help us fill our 2018 with meeting for the remaining 6 openings and that He would bless as we begin to focus on scheduling meetings for 2019.

Weekly Devotion Jeremiah 39:18

“For I will surely deliver thee, and thou shalt not fall by the sword, but thy life shall be for a prey unto thee: because thou hast put thy trust in me, saith the LORD.”

The word of the Lord came unto Jeremiah (v15), telling him to go and speak these words to Ebedmelech the Ethiopian (v16). The Lord promises to deliver Ebedmelech’s life. He make this promise because he put his trust in the Lord when he delivered Jeremiah out of the dungeon (38:7-13).

Lord, thank You for saving those that put their trust in You. Thank You for saving me, Lord. Help me to carry Your message of love and salvation to the lost of this world.