by Rev. James Wong
““How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron's head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting.” Ps 133:1-3 (NLT).
I feel that the reunion dinner is the most significant tradition of the Chinese New Year because children far and near would make an effort to return home for this dinner. It is a time for the renewal of relationships. The giving of Ang Pao to parents, children and singles makes the occasion even more meaningful and joyous.
I have many fond memories about the Chinese New Year. My mum will cook all the delicious food for us for the reunion dinner. Food will include such items as pork, duck, chicken, mushroom, many sweet delicacies and some wine for the adults. Mum has been keeping this tradition yearly. She would call and wait for all of us to be home to have this reunion dinner.
Since all of us are staying separately, the New Year reunion dinner becomes more and more significant through the years. Perhaps, it is the only time in the year that all the siblings can come together in one place and have a good meal together. It is not so much about the food, but about treasuring the relationships we have as a family. Psalms 133 gives us important truths about harmonious relationships.
(1) It is a wonderful and pleasant experience when there is harmony in the family. Let us learn to forgive and accept each other’s differences to keep the family relationships.
“The man who brings trouble on his family will have nothing at the end.” Proverbs 11:29 (TEV). The Bible places premium value on family relationships.
(2) Harmony is the most precious glue that holds a family together. The importance of this harmony is likened to the anointing oil in the Old Testament. The Priests and Kings were anointed with oil during their consecration. Everyone should strive to keep the harmony of the home and should not take this lightly. Joy and conflict cannot coexist.
(3) Harmony is refreshing and life giving. Family strife is time consuming and energy sapping. Encouragement, love and caring empower family members with strength and hope. Eliminate all negative perceptions and enjoy each other’s company.
(4) It is in the home with harmony that the Lord’s blessing resides. If you nurture the sore spots in your relationship with your family members, you will not grow better but bitter. “First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift to God. ” Matt 5:24 (NIV). Waw, relationships are so important in God’s eyes!