Chinese New Year is here again! This year’s celebrations are likely to be a little more muted, however—with the necessary restrictions in place to control the spread of Covid-19, many of us are expecting to do less visiting.
So what will we do with the “spare” time we have during the long weekend? Binge-watch movies and dramas? Sleep through the weekend?
While it’s important to relax during this festive holiday, can I offer 5 suggestions on how we could spend our time meaningfully this Chinese New Year?
1. Watch a gospel movie
This Chinese New Year may be especially lonely or boring for the seniors, many of whom will miss the large family reunions and visiting by younger relatives. How about making effort to spend a little more time with them, and catch a movie together? It would make for a great time of laughs and tears! And since you’re at it, why not make it even more meaningful by watching a gospel movie with non-believing parents or elderly relatives?
There are plenty of gospel movies available on YouTube, some featuring MediaCorp artistes who will be familiar to parents and older folks. I’d recommend The Ultimate Winner starring Li Nanxing, who also gives his testimony in Chinese or English. It’d make a great follow-up!
2. Engage in more intimate conversations in smaller groups
Some people might be disappointed that gatherings will be limited to 8 people, but consider some positives: it’s not only easier to hear one another, but there’s also more opportunity to engage in deeper, more intimate conversation. (Just avoid turning it into a drilling session with questions like, “Do you plan to get married?”, and, “When are you having children?” etc.).
It might also be helpful to do a little preparation before trying to initiate a deeper, more intentional conversation with family and relatives—some of whom we may only meet once a year. Perhaps, we can start with common concerns such as, “How’s Covid-19 affected your work?”, or, “Do you miss travelling? Which country will you want to visit first when travel restrictions are lifted?”, before moving on to deeper questions.
3. Share tracts in the ang pow
While large family reunions may be out this year, chances are, we’ll still have opportunities to meet our relatives—and give out the customary red packets, or ang pow. Some of us will be giving them to our children as a form of blessing, some to our parents as a sign of respect, some to visiting family and friends, and some to our employees.
How about enclosing a suitable tract in these packets, or using ang pow that are imprinted with Bible verses, to share the good news of Christ? While it may be just a small gesture, you never know—the Holy Spirit can use the seeds we sow to bring about salvation, for God is the One who “makes things grow” (1 Corinthians 3:6).
4. Show a little love and care
Many of our friends, colleagues, and churchmates who come from Malaysia, Indonesia, China, or other countries can’t go back to their hometowns to celebrate the festive holidays with their families this year. It will be a very different—and possibly lonely—Chinese New Year for them. How about opening up your homes and inviting them over (within the allowed limits, of course) for a meal?
We can also consider bringing the festive cheer to the homeless or needy residents in our neighbourhood. Here’s something a family did last Christmas which I found very inspiring.
5. Share God’s blessings on social media
Over this festive holiday, people often flood social media with photos of their families in their newest Chinese New Year garb or enjoying a great feast. It’s indeed a wonderful way to share our greetings with family and friends, both near and far; as we wish each other good health and rich blessings, perhaps we can also share this video that explains the source of all blessings, it’s available in both English and Chinese.
Every season is a good opportunity for us to show God’s love and share His good news. May the Lord use us this festive season “to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume” (2 Corinthians 2:14 NLT).