Thursday, January 26, 2012

Old Traditions with New Things

This week, I brought my granddaughter to a Chinese Shopping Mall to give her a first taste of Chinese New Year celebrations.
When we got to the turn-off for the car park, there was a long line-up of cars and I would have gone to another place except I was stuck in the center of it all. After what seemed like an eternity, we managed to get in and find a perfect lot.

The place was packed and buzzing with families dressed in their Sunday best. I later found out that most of the schools in the area had a “Pro-D” Day. It seemed like every Chinese person in my city was packed into that Mall to usher in the New Year. The sights, sounds and smell of the entire place evoked memories of times gone by. There were red lanterns, red packets, red outfits, and red Lion dancers in their customary costumes. The incessant loud drumming of the Lion dance troupes made it almost impossible for us to talk or even think. Everything about the celebration revolved around prosperity and health but much of it involved age-old superstition and some aspects clearly had pagan roots. For many traditional Chinese, there is the belief that each New Year presents a fresh new opportunity to prosper and wipe away the misfortunes and bad luck of the past seasons. That is probably the rationale behind the new clothes and new things in the home.
Chinese New Year, in one sense, is an oxymoron - old traditions that involve new things! As Christians, it’s a reminder that one day these old things will all pass away and God will make everything new. When that day comes, it will be a day of celebration without tears, without pain, and everything will be perfectly and perpetually new!

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Matthew 6:26

As the saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together!” Have you ever wondered what that really means? In this article, I’m not referring to the computer terminology BoF (birds of a feather) used to describe an informal discussion group. I’m focusing on why birds stick together while in flight, foraging for food and even when they resting. In a past article, I’ve eluded to snow geese in flight and how they utilize laws of aeronautics to their advantage when they fly in their distinct “V”- formation. Water fowls birds stay close together to share body heat even when they are floating in cold water and I guess there’s safety in numbers. “Flocking together” must be essential for their survival! Sometimes, creatures in the animal kingdom are wiser than humans. Isn’t it strange that the more developed our culture gets, the more socially isolated we seem to become!
Some sociologists have suggested that new technologies such as the internet and social media lead to social isolation. These technologies make users more inclined to stay at home and miss out on socializing with neighbours and visiting public places such as parks. Many are drawn to convenient “face-book” relationships, instead of “face-to-face” time.
Perhaps it’s time to return to the age-old methods of “hanging-out” together and rediscovering the strength of “one-another” relationships.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where is La Nina?

Isn’t it strange how the weather can affect so many things in life?
We’ve been preparing for a colder than usual winter because the weather experts have predicted a La Nina type winter. So far, it has been wetter and warmer than usual.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining! After my last trip to Edmonton, and the white-out conditions, I’m more appreciative of the rainy conditions here.
A lot of our responses in life are based on conditioning. The mind can condition one’s response to be overly negative and often the results are a complaining spirit. God’s Word exhorts us to “give thanks in all circumstances” and not allow our environment to dictate our heart condition.
I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions but I’ve decided that I will do more, give more and enjoy more in 2012, no matter the state of the world around me!
Honour the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. Proverbs 3:9-10

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Closing the Year on a High Note

After 2 months of preparations and practises, we pulled it off. Everything fell into place when we packed-out both venues in our Christmas Musical; “Twas the light before Christmas.”

This was a first in many areas; the first time we’ve ever put together a 100-voice choir comprising kids as young as 5, with adults. Well done to our choir trainers, in both campuses, who patiently worked to teach all the parts and coordinated the rehearsals!
This was also a first for certain “new” members who bravely “volunteered” to be the actor/narrators in the show. They practiced their lines week after week before finessing it on the two presentations. Thanks to every musician, dancer, choreographer, technical crew and volunteer who all share in the great satisfaction and reward of seeing many give their lives to the Lord.
May God grant you great joy and satisfaction in knowing your work for Him is never in vain.