Friday, February 8, 2008


Year of the Rat 4706
Chinese New Year is the most important date on the Chinese calendar. The beginning of the lunar year symbolises the act of starting over with renewed hopes for happiness and prosperity. It is also a time to renew ties with family and friends, through family reunion dinners and social visits and by honoring ancestors.
New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the lunar month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.
At Chinese New Year celebrations people wear red clothes, decorate with red paper, and give children "lucky money" in red envelopes. Red symbolizes fire, which according to legend can drive away bad luck. The fireworks that shower the festivities are rooted in a similar ancient custom. Long ago, people in China lit bamboo stalks, believing that the crackling flames would frighten evil spirits.

Chinese New Year ends with the lantern festival on the fifteenth day of the month. Some of the lanterns may be works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. People hang glowing lanterns in temples, and carry lanterns to an evening parade under the light of the full moon.

As Christians, we too will be celebrating Chinese New Year with our children this year. For us it is a reminder of the rich heritage that our beautiful daughters were born into on this earth. Because that is their earthly heritage, we will remember...for them. At the same time, we will teach them of an even greater heritage that they too can claim as their own. One of a loving and infinate Father who sent his only Son to die on a cross so that they might have eternal life with him...far beyond this earth and all of it's many cultural celebrations!

This New Year we also look forward to starting over with renewed hopes for happiness and prosperity, but the hapiness and prosperity we seek is not of this world. We seek a happiness and prosperity that is beyond what the world sees. That is the heritage we wish for our daughters! And there is no luck involved!

We seek to teach our daughters to evaluate their lives in light of their commitments to Christ, to thank God for his abundant provision for them and for our family, to remember others less fortunate and offer help in any way we can, to daily cultivate a genuine faith in our lives, and to give honor and respect to family that came before us by honoring our parents.
As far as the color red, which symbolizes fire and can drive away bad luck...well, to us it symbolizes the blood of Christ! It doesn't drive away bad luck, but it does wash us white as snow!!
~Father, thank you for our beautiful daughters! Thank you that you chose them to be born into the culture that they came from. I do not pretend to know why you needed them to be of Chinese heritage, but I so look forward to seeing the plans you have for their lives unfold. I thank you that you chose us to be a part of it!! I pray your blessings over this family. I pray that you will continue to guide this family in your ways and give us courage and strength to do your will. Give David & I the wisdom and knowledge to raise these gifts from you with all the tools that you want them to have to acomplish YOUR purposes in their lives!
In Jesus name...Amen!~

Liliana Grace MinQin Swindler (age 2) & Alyson Ming-Lian Swindler (age 4)


Susan said...

I can't think of a more beautiful post I've seen about Chinese New Year and incorporating it into homes that want to serve Christ. Thanks S. family! and a Gong Xi Fa Cai to you also!

prechrswife said...

Love your post. Happy Chinese New Year! See you Sunday...


a Tonggu Momma said...

What a great post, Shelley!

Kooky said...

Happy Chinese New Year's guys!