Do you like Red?
It’s Chinese Lunar New Year! A time for cleaning, decorating, preparing red envelopes, planning meals and getting ready for family to visit. Well, if you are of Chinese heritage that is.
So you might be thinking, “Isn’t this just a Chinese holiday? What does it have to do with Jesus?”
Jesus makes all things secular sacred, so even during this particularly Asian holiday there is an opportunity to talk about Jesus Christ using the themes that are all around us.
The Significance of the Color Red
Red is significant to the Chinese/Taiwanese because it is the symbolic color of wealth, happiness, and good luck which is celebrated during Chinese New Year. The reason for this is born out of superstition and myth.
According to legend, at the start of the new year in ancient China, there was a mythical beast called “Nian” who would come on the first day to devour the livestock, destroy the crops they had planted, and terrorize people especially their children.
In order to protect themselves, the people would place food in front of their doors. This was so that the beast would consume the food rather than entering into the house and consuming their children.
One New Years day, it was discovered that the “Nian” was scared away by a little girl wearing red. It was then that the Chinese people understood that the “Nian” was afraid of the colour red. And so, based on this legend and superstition, at every New Year, people would hang red lanterns and wear red. Especially at their homes, red banners are placed over the front entrance of the house in order to ward off evil spirits and misfortune.
From ancient times until today a majority of Chinese people place red lanterns and decorations in their homes, hang red banners over their doors, and even wear red outfits.
As Christians, red is also an important color to us. We remember in Scriptures that God instructed the Israelites to sacrifice a perfect lamb and use its blood to paint the posts and lintel of the door to their homes.
The reason for this was because the Lord was about to unleash the 10th and most devastating plague upon the people. The death angel would enter into their houses and kill the firstborn of the people. Only those houses which were covered with the blood of the lamb would be spared.
As believers, when we see red, we can also be reminded of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, shed for us so that we are passed over for judgment. We are under the blood of Jesus, both literally and figuratively.
So during Chinese New Year, as you see Chinese people wearing red clothes and placing red banners over their doors, remember what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for you and be thankful for your salvation.
Take this great opportunity to ask them why they are wearing red, why they are placing the banners and then see if God gives you an opportunity to share why you love the color red also.