Dallas Theological Seminary enjoys the blessing of having a family of diverse believers from around the world together in the community—especially during various cultural holidays.
The Lunar New Year is one of these holidays. It is most commonly observed by those of Eastern and Southeastern Asian descent. The Lunar New Year begins at the appearance of the new moon, which is any day between January 21 and February 20. It marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring—and for this year, the Lunar New Year begins Tuesday, February 1, 2022.
The celebrants observe the holiday by hosting community festivals and small family gatherings with food and fellowship that bless the youth and honor family elders. The atmosphere is similar to Thanksgiving or Christmas. Yet, as we all know, not everyone who celebrates cultural holidays is a believer in Christ. Some people still have opposing beliefs and adhere to historical myths and folk tales. When we consider the Lunar New Year holiday, we know some Asian Christians encounter others with opposing faiths or ancient religions in their cultural tradition.
We asked several DTS faculty and staff of Asian descent, "How do you, a Christian, celebrate the Lunar Year in ways that glorify God?" Here are some of their responses:
"In our community, we bless each other with red packets. Some give money while others give Bible Scriptures. It is a time of giving and fellowship".
—Dr. Samuel Chia (ThM 1994; Ph.D. 2004) – Malaysian
Director of Online Chinese Studies & Assistant Professor of New Testament Studies
"The Lunar New Year is a family-focused holiday. We celebrate the new start of the season. I have known many families who gave Bible verses in little red envelopes instead of money".
—Dr. Richard Hon (ThM 1996; Ph.D. 2015) – Chinese
Assistant professor of Bible Exposition
"The Lunar New Year is similar to Christmas because it involves family fellowship, cultural food, and gifts exchanged between family members. From my experience in the church, there has not been much activity related to the holiday. However, I recall a sermon explaining what prosperity should look like as seen through God's lens".
—Dr. Kathy Wu – Taiwanese
Adjunct Professor in Biblical Counseling and Ministry Studies
"As I am serving at a Vietnamese Baptist church, we celebrate the Lunar New Year or Tết (in Vietnamese) by gathering with foods and fellowship and singing praises to God".
—Nguyen Nguyen – Vietnamese
As Christians, we participate in traditions in the spirit of worshipping God, celebrating family, and generating fellowship. We hold to a bibliocentric prescription of family. Such families celebrate the wisdom and Christian declarations passed down from those who came before us. We do so to establish a blessing and a heritage for our children to come.
DTS celebrates diversity in many forms and is honored to highlight members of our community who share how they can glorify God in their heritage and tradition.
The diversity at Dallas Theological Seminary is also evident through our course offerings as we offer theological courses in Mandarin and Spanish. To find out more about the Mandarin course offerings, please visit the DTSC page.
About the Contributors
As a native of Houston, TX., Rebecca S. Walton began her seminary journey at DTS Houston. She loves people and is passionate about communicating Bible doctrine, current events, and Christian Living stories.