February 14 marks the official end of the two-week holiday season in China known as Spring Festival, which coincides with the first 15 days of the lunar New Year. According to the Chinese zodiac, the year that began two weeks ago is the Year of the Horse.
Spring Festival celebrations include visiting family and friends, eating (and more eating), and engaging in a variety of rituals designed to "appease the gods" in order have good fortune in the coming year.
Many of the New Year greetings reflect this desire for good luck or fortune. Since this is the year of the horse, the greetings have often included puns featuring the Chinese term "mashang." It literally means "on the horse" but in everyday usage it conveys that something is about to happen. "When will the man with the key return? Mashang! (he's on the horse!)"
Some of the more popular New Year greetings were mashang you qian (may you get rich quickly); mashang you fang (may you have a house quickly) or mashang you che (may you have a car quickly).
Another popular greeting is mashang you fu (may you be quickly blessed). The character for fu () means blessing (or good fortune), and is used to make up the Chinese word for gospel (fuyin blessed sound or blessed news). In the midst of the NY celebrations, Chinese Christians often look for ways to share their faith with their family, friends, and relatives.
While most Chinese may be wishing their friends and family mashang you fu, Christians are wishing mashang you fuyin (may you know the gospel). And that is our prayer for China in this Year of the Horse that the gospel will quickly (mashang) be known and embraced.
At ChinaSource, one of the things that is "on the horse" for us this year is producing more content that will provide the global Christian community with objective information about the church in China.
In addition to the ChinaSource Quarterly, we are posting more frequently to the ChinaSource Blog. Recent articles include Generations of Church Leadership in China, Chinese Santa, The Link Between 1989 and Christianity, and a reflection on the life of missionary Victor Plymire.
This month, we are having a subscription drive for the blog. If you have not already signed up to receive new posts by email, we invite you to subscribe. We would love for you to be one of a hundred new subscribers we are aiming for this month. And you might be one who receives an Amazon gift card in our end-of-the-month drawing for new subscribers!
We are also becoming more active on social media platforms, regularly posting content and links to our Facebook and Twitter pages. We would love to have you "like" us on Facebook, and "follow" us on Twitter.
The ChinaSource Team
- Pray that scholars concerned with religious policies would have wisdom and discernment as they draft laws and work to bring them to the attention of the government. Currently, dealing with religious issues does not seem to be a priority for the Chinese government.Pray that the gospel will "run and be glorified" in China this year.
- Pray that family members and friends who heard the gospel during Spring Festival respond by trusting in Christ.
- Pray for wisdom and capacity to produce timely, accurate, and thoughtful content for the various ChinaSource publications.
- Pray for increased readership of ChinaSource publications especially for the ChinaSource Blog during this month's subscription drive.
Remember Christians across China this season as they proclaim the true message of Christmas in church services, home gatherings, holiday parties, and public events.
Pray that God would raise up committed youth workers in Chinas churches to shepherd the 4/14 generation and equip them for their future roles as leaders in the church.
Pray that Chinas Next Generation would be used of God to spark new awareness, understanding, and prayer among believers worldwide who care about China.
Lift up ChinaSources year-end financial needs, and thank God for His provision throughout 2013.
Image credit: Chinese Lantern Festival, by ConstantinD, via Flickr
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