By H. Leung
There are several staples at this church that will never change – Missions Conference, Deeper Life Conference, Great Commission Sunday… and for our Cantonese and Mandarin Congregations, the Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration. Every year, around the Martin Luther King long weekend, we step into high gear and really dig in and start prepping for the monumental day.
Over the years, we’ve (the Cantonese brothers and sisters) tried different avenues. We have our variety shows, we’ve tried a Game and Entertainment Night, we’ve experienced a Carnival & Night Market. And last year… we launched our first annual Alliance Got Talent. Boy are we loaded with God given talents! Many of our brothers and sisters are amazing dancers, singers, musicians, performers, all whom are just waiting and brewing to bring glory to God. Then there are those who think they have talent (the verdict is still out), and yet they’re brave enough to take the stage and wait for a miracle to happen (we’re praying hard for you!).
Regardless of what ends up as the final product, there are several characteristics that stand out about CNY. First of all, CNY is one of the easiest outreach events to bring an otherwise non-church goer to come into God’s house. Secondly, it isn’t so much the event itself, but the days and weeks of rehearsals, leading up to the event. This is most notably exemplified by the lack of parking spaces on Sunday afternoons when many groups stay after Sunday worship service to practice and rehearse. Good luck finding an open slot in the sanctuary to rehearse!! Small groups benefit from this time of relationship building and outreach, as new friends (and their children) thoroughly enjoy the camaraderie of coming together to create a production. And lastly, CNY, is a big party!! It’s a time where family and friends come together to eat, to dine, to laugh and to celebrate. As the momentum builds and crescendos at the night of the performance, we find solace and enjoyment at one of my favorite Bible verses, ““That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.” (Eccl. 3:13). Who says Christians can’t have fun? Can’t party? Can’t eat and drink and have a good time? If you ask me, that is what truly sparks joy! It’s even Biblical!!