Today is the official start of the Chinese Lunar new year. It is a traditional 15 day festival of family and community celebration and renewal, thanksgiving, culminating in the Lantern Festival. Prosperity, health and longevity are gifts which are sought at this time and prayer offerings are for the living and the dead.
How lovely it was this morning to be greeted by this little innocent child and her red envelope! I did not understand the significance of the gift, but have since found that she was receiving blessings from her parents.
Later I read that the red envelope of blessing is exchanged as a sign of respect and well wishes to all, and especially passed on through the generations to children. The envelopes are given with both hands signifying the wholehearted good wishes of the giver so as “to bless them with a pure heart”.
I hear echoes within me of the prayer of the Psalmist intoned especially at this time in the Christian church as we too seek a pure heart and renewal.
Have mercy on me, O God, in your faithful love,
in your great tenderness wipe away my offences; …
Let me hear the sound of joy and gladness,
and the bones you have crushed will dance.
Turn away your face from my sins,
and wipe away all my guilt. …
God create in me a clean heart,
renew within me a resolute spirit. ..
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
sustain in me a generous spirit.
vs.1, 8-10, 12.
Tradition is the wisdom of the ages passed on with love blessing us through the lived experience. So we too bless others by sharing our lived experiences.