Renewal of Life
Lunar New Year is a time for the Chinese people to replace the old with the new. Our life is a process of replacing old things with new things, but many people are reluctant to get rid of old things, therefore they cannot get new things due to limited space. For example, if we bought a new household appliance, we would discard the old one. Although this is common sense, people often still struggle in deciding if they should get rid of something or not! What is the reason for this?
1. Old Things are Memorable
Some things are more valuable as they aged, such as collectible stamps, artworks, aged wine…etc. Even antique cars, electrical appliances, etc. have values in auction markets. Many people got rich because they bought valuable antiques at a bargain. But not all antiques are collectables. Some antiques, such as old photos, films and mementos, can be personal invaluable treasures if people are attached to them because of personal emotions. It often became an emotional struggle for everyone: reluctant to give up, but unable to keep. This is especially hard for people who are nostalgic. The wisdom of life lies in how to judge what should be kept and what should be discarded. However, there are many old traditional cultures, old ideas, methods and wisdom, old music and songs, old friends…etc., that you must choose the good ones to keep.
2. The Fear of Unknown to New Things
In addition to the struggle of reluctance to discard old things, there is also the struggle of reluctance to accept new things, especially with new technologies such as computers, smart phones and home appliances that come out every year. Some people refuse to use these new technologies and new systems and prefer to stay with the old ones. In their comfort zone, there is no need to worry about forgetting passwords. This is because people are often full of fear when they are facing the unknown!
In 1793, when Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty was over 80 years old, the British envoy George McCartney brought King George III’s letter of credence and more than 600 boxes of gifts that worth hundreds of thousands of British pounds, including mortars, rifles and burst pistols newly invented in the West, to Qianlong. George McCartney did not expect Emperor Qianlong to refuse the establishment of trade and diplomatic relations with Britain, which resulted in the catastrophe of the British Opium War. While we were reprimanding the Western hegemony for invading China, we should not neglect the Qing dynasty’s conservatism, and a firm belief that swords can beat guns in the battlefield!
If Qinglong was able to overcome his fear of new Western technologies and things, he might not have to face the greater fear brought about by subsequent wars! On the other hand, after the Meiji Restoration, Japan was not only willing to accept the challenges of new things from the West, but also used Western technologies and armaments to wage war against China! Not only that, they even boldly attacked Pearl Harbor in the United States! But this is also the result of a nation’s arrogance and overestimation of itself. Not only that Japan was unable to invade China and the United States, it had to surrender because of the newer weapons of the West! The lesson of history is: “Don’t blindly discard the new and conserve the old because of arrogance, or blindly love the new and dislike the old because of arrogance.” The Qing dynasty perished because of abandoning new things. Japan rejected the ancient orthodox wisdom and ignored the yin and yang balance. Although Japan had updated military technology, it did not have the diplomatic wisdom to have harmony with neighboring countries; in the end it suffered the consequences!
3. Replacement of the Old is a Natural Law
In the nature’s cycles, the phenomenon of the replacement of old with new is constantly happening. From the birth to the death of galaxy in the universe, we seem to see the birth and death of life. In this process of life and death, the law of the replacement of the old is repeated. For example, during four seasons of the year, old branches, leaves and bark of a tree will wither; while new branches, leaves and outer bark will grow again. If the tree is killed by pests, diseases, lightning or fire, it will become nutrients to fertile the soil. The seeds from the tree fell into the soil, and new trees will grow again. It can be seen that the old will gradually deteriorate and disappear, while new life is constantly growing and advancing. The new will quickly become the old, and the old will gradually disappear. The same is true for a tree, a person, and even a civilization. This is God’s great creative wisdom. By seeing the change and renewal of all things, we can discover eternal existence. God uses the Bible to let the world know the “old covenant” and the “new covenant” between Him and mankind. Ancient wisdom and the renewed life are both eternal. Jesus Christ is the ancient wisdom and the “light of life.” Jesus came to earth as a human; in the future he will come again as a king. The old has passed, the new will come! If someone accepts Jesus as his or her personal savior, “…the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Dear friends, are you willing to accept Jesus Christ as your savior to have a renewed life? Are you willing to experience the renewed life and new life ahead that God has given you through Jesus Christ? Do you want your soul to enter the ever-renewing eternal life in the future? Wish that you can enter a renewed life by believing in Jesus Christ in this New Year!
(Author: Christian Alliance Bible Church in Los Angeles, CA)