Today about two billion people celebrate Lunar New Year.
It is based on the lunisolar calendar and occurs in late January or early February every year.
This year is the year of the ox.
Here in Darwin, we live in a very multicultural mix of traditions. Of course, a large part of our population belongs to our Australian First Nations. However, there are also many other ethnic and cultural groups represented. Among these groups is a strong Chinese community, many of whom have been here for many generations. There are also many people here who have a Japanese background.
It is important to celebrate this diversity.
No culture can claim superiority over other cultures. All cultures have much to teach us. We can all learn from each other.
Fear of the different can result in bigotry and divisions between peoples. Sometimes we get confused by the difference and get tired of trying to understand each other.
For us Christians, we believe in the dignity of the human person. All human beings matter absolutely to God.
We need to be leaders in recognising the good in all others, as Jesus did.
No culture is perfect, no culture has it ‘all together’. However, we need to celebrate the good that is there in others who might be different from us but are still our brothers and sisters.
If you are celebrating Lunar New Year today, I pray that this year be filled with blessings for you and your family.
If it is not part of your culture, try to be conscious that it is a significant day for people that you might know. This could be work mates, neighbours, people you deal with while shopping, etc.
I am sure that God delights to see his children respect and love each other.