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Asia Field Story

Celebrating Lunar New Year

"Jesus alleviates the pressure of all the things that we want because in Him He has given us all we need."

Thanksgiving has come and gone, the Christmas lights have gone up and come down, the ball dropped on December 31st and our focus turns to the start of a new year. That is the sequence of events that we in the West associate with this time of year. While we are trying to stick to our new years resolutions those in Asian cultures are anticipating the celebration of Lunar New Year.

Lunar New Year has many names depending on the region. It’s known as Spring Festival in China, Tet in Vietnam, and Seollal in South Korea. It follows the schedule of the moon and usually falls at the end of January or beginning of February. For those of us that have never experienced it, we can corelate the festivity to the joy and magnitude of Christmas. Family, food, gifts and best wishes for what is to come are a few of the joys of this celebration.  Not as many gifts are exchanged but it is custom for the elder family members to give “lucky money” to the younger generation. “Lucky money” is a sum of money, no set amount, that is a gift to the younger generation.

One of our missionaries in Southeast Asia shares about the idea of the best wishes and how they are an important aspect of this holiday. For example, someone might wish their grandma to have health & happiness. These wishes are often symbolized by a desire to get rid of the old and bringing in the new. Our missionary also shares how Lunar New Year brings many opportunities to share about the true hope we have in Jesus.  “Jesus speaks into the idea of the new year because He casts all the old and brings forgiveness, grace, and real peace. Jesus alleviates the pressure of all the things that we want because in Him he has given us all we need.” This is the message that so many need to hear considering the celebration of Lunar New Year.

Check out these ideas of how you can be a part of sharing the hope of Jesus to those celebrating Lunar New Year:

  1. Engage in Conversation: Go to an Asian restaurant and have a conversation with a waiter or owner about the holiday. You can give your waiter a nice tip and wish them a Happy New Year. Learn the phrase Happy New Year in their language beforehand.
  2. Celebrate Together: You could hold a New Year’s party or event at your church that includes traditional decorations and food to celebrate. Invite those from Asia in your community, making sure that the invite is in their local language. Also, make sure that the party or event is not held on the actual holiday since it is usually celebrated as a family.
  3. Eat Together: Visit a local Asian market and buy some Banh Trung to take home and eat. Banh Trung is a local dish of rice, beans, and meat wrapped in banana leaves that is eaten together during the holiday.  
  4. Continue in Prayer: Praise the Lord for all that He is doing in Asia! As they celebrate Lunar New Year this month, pray that the Lord would work in mighty ways drawing many to Himself. Pray that they would see that He is the one who can satisfy all their needs, as they desire to get rid of the old and bring in the new.

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