Pastoral Advice During Chinese Valentine’s Day

On August 28, Chinese celebrated “Qixi,” also known as “Chinese Valentine’s Day." The holiday is based on a mythological Chinese folk story about a goddess who falls in love with a cowherder. Legend has it that prayers offered to the goddess on this day will bring blessings and wisdom.

The holiday has grown in popularity in recent years, sparking more discussion online about if and how Christians should celebrate the holiday. In this article, Chen Fengsheng, a Three-Self pastor in Wenzhou, provides Christians with pastoral advice regarding Qixi.

Chinese Valentine's Day: Seven Things Christians Should Be Mindful of

There are many articles posted on social media around Chinese Valentine's Day, or Qixi ["Qi" means "seven" and "xi" means "evening"]. For Christians, there are some articles online that we can't blindly dismiss, but there are also articles that we can't blindly accept. We need to exercise wisdom when it comes to such holidays. I want to offer seven things that Christians need to be mindful of and remember during this holiday:

1. Qixi is a traditional Chinese festival and Christians don't need to get wrapped up in questions like, "should we observe it or not" or "can we observe it or not" because we're going to "observe" each day anyway. I think Paul said it best:

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. " (Romans 14: 5-6).

The important thing is not can we observe it or not, but how to observe it.

2. The myth and legend behind Qixi tells the Chinese folk love story of the Cowherd and Weaver. As a piece of literature and not a religious faith, Christians ought not attach any value to it. It's just legend to share that won't hurt anyone.

3. Christians must end any of their superstitious practices associated with Qixi tradition, such as praying for needlework skills, praying for a son, celebrating the Cowherd's birthday, worshipping the Weaver, worshipping the stars, etc. Christians must understand that God is the only God we worship and that he is the source of our wisdom.

4. Today people see Qixi as a "Chinese Valentine's Day." They even see it as a chance to hook up with the opposite sex and indulge lust. This is inconsistent with traditional Chinese morals and it contradicts Christian teachings on the holiness of marriage. As Chinese citizens and Christian believers we ought to control our actions and control our own lusts.

5. No one objects when Qixi is simply seen as a romantic holiday. But, love needs to be framed within the scope of traditional values. As Christians, we especially need to view sex within the norm of marriage as God has given us. That is, Christians must see their spouse as their only lover, and any other "lover" is seen as a temptation that places their marriage within the seductive grasp of the devil.

6. For younger single Christians, don't rush into Qixi with your heart set on a "Cowherd" or a "Weaver." Instead, go before God in prayer and prepare your life so that you are ready for marriage.

7. Christians see the number seven as a number of completion, a completion that is based on God's foundation ["Qixi" refers to "seventh evening of seventh month in the lunar calendar"]. If we want to pursue a complete love, or a complete marriage, we must build them on God's commands. Therefore, a Christian who pursues this kind of completeness in love should first in the sight of God become a Christian who pursues conformity to God's will; someone who establishes a blessed marriage by God's grace.

Original Article: 七夕节,基督徒当留意的七件事 (Chen Fengsheng)

Image Credit: Traditional Chinese wedding ceremony by kanegan via Flickr.