Today (Feb 11) is the second day of Chinese Lunar New Year. I wish you all a Happy New Year overflowing with the Lord’s grace and mercy.
Do you know how the Jewish people celebrate the new year? They celebrate the Jewish New Year in the seventh month (Tishri) of their Lunar calendar, which is in the months around September and October of the Solar calendar. The Chinese usually celebrate Lunar New Year from the first day of the first month to the fifteenth day (Chinese Lantern Festival). It is a time of gatherings with relatives and friends in joyous celebration of the new year. Similarly, the Jews celebrate the Jewish New Year from the first day (Feast of Trumpets - refer to Leviticus 23:23-25) to the tenth day. Just like the way their Chinese counterparts celebrate the new year, the Jews would gather with their relatives and friends to commemorate the occasion; only in the case of the Jews, the focus is not quite the same. It is because the tenth day of the new year is a day more important than the Feast of Trumpets on the first day - the Day of Atonement.
The Lord said to Moses, “The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. Do not work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people.” Leviticus 23:26-29
For the Jews, the Feast of Trumpets on the first day of the new year marks the beginning of a ten-day repentance period, culminating in the Day of Atonement on the tenth day. During this period, the Jews would reflect on their wrongdoings and sins in the past year and then seek forgiveness and reconciliation with God and with those whom they have sinned against.
What are our plans for this Chinese Lunar New Year? Could we be like the Jews in setting aside time to reflect on our wrongdoings and sins in the past year, then ask for forgiveness from people and from God in the hope of seeking reconciliation in our relationships? Perhaps we may not spend ten days in confession and repentance, but I urge all of us to spend one or two hours to reflect, confess, and repent, thanking our Lord Jesus for forgiving our sins and asking Him to give us the power to change and start anew. If we have sinned against others, let’s go and seek forgiveness and reconciliation.
May the Lord bless you all during this Chinese New Year!
你知道猶太人怎樣過新年嗎？現今猶太人慶祝猶太新年的日子，就是他們的陰曆七月(提斯流月)，即是大約在陽曆九月/十月的時候。華人一般會在初一至十五(元宵節)慶祝農曆新年，與親人、朋友，一同歡樂、互相祝賀。而猶太人一般會在初一(吹角節 - 參利未記23:23-25)至初十慶祝猶太新年，他們也會像華人慶祝農曆新年一般，與親人、朋友，一同歡樂、互相祝賀，但重點卻不一樣。因為在新年的初十日，有一個比初一吹角節更重要的日子，就是贖罪日。