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Life of cycles

People are already preparing to celebrate the Lunar New Year Festival. Although celebrating in the concrete jungle of Hong Kong is a far cry from the origins of the festival, they do mark the cycle of life in which they are involved.

Traditionally, it is a celebration of people involved in agricultural. So it marks the cycle of the seasons and the hope of new growth and fertility.

Although few in Hong Kong depend on the cycle of the seasons, many retail and manufacturing businesses do rely on seasonal shopping and raw material supplies.

But the trappings and events of the Spring Festival remain, even though we may be detached from the original meaning.

New cycles take their place alongside the old. For students and their families there is the cycle of the school year. The cycle of the financial market has its own events; end-of-year reports and new taxation time.

The tourist industry has its own cycles, coping with golden weeks and holiday periods. Expatriates juggle the cycles of life at home and life in Hong Kong.

Many people in the territory come from rural backgrounds and miss the familiar festivals on the land.

The Church adds its own cycles. We have passed through Advent and the Christmas season. Soon we will move into Lent and the joyful celebration of Easter.

All of this is a long way from the simpler life of the Chinese peasant, who lived by one calendar, fully integrating religious, agricultural and social events. In our global city, we live according to multiple calendars, some of them quite separate from each other. We can lose touch with the original meaning of festivals.

Life has become more complex. We can be lost between our many cycles.

Perhaps there is an analogy in music. The simplest harmony is a melody from a single instrument. But life in Hong Kong is more like an orchestra.

Someone must bring the music together so there can be harmony.

Jesus brings our lives into harmony, as he brings healing. It is in the redeemer from outside of time that we find the one who can bring harmony to our many cycles and rhythms.

It is in the redeemer, who enters time as one historical man, that we find the one who can show us the way.

We cannot turn back to a simpler, agricultural way of life. We cannot run away from reality. But in Jesus, we can make sense of our reality and find the harmonising factor which can bring us security and a foundation for the complex rhythms of life.

So let us celebrate this Lunar New Year as well as we can. The rhythm of the agricultural seasons is still one of the basic facts of
our lives, though in high-rise
Hong Kong it is hard for us to realise it.

It is still part of our roots, part of who we are and who we will become. This is can knit the whole complexity of our being, in Jesus. May every blessing be poured out on us and on our families!