The Lunar New Year custom of visitation brings families and friends together. It is also a way of according respect to the elders as juniors come to greet them and wish them well. Some Chinese employers hold open homes by inviting their workers to a meal. Pastors of Chinese churches may also invite their members to visit them during the festive season.
Outside of the Lunar New Year, we often think of visitation as something that pastors do for their members on a regular basis. Visits may be made during a time of crisis or simply to keep up with what is going on in a member’s life.
But visitation is some-thing that every Christian can do for another. All it takes is a genuine interest to bless that other with care and concern. This is especially in a large local church, as Hebron is. Every member can show care to another. When we give time to visit another, we show that that person’s well-being is important enough to us to dedicate especial attention. In so doing, we extend the reach of the pastors by being willing channels through which God may bless the ones we visit.
As such, we thank God for many Hebronites who take upon themselves to visit the sick and the grieving. Those who are visited, in turn, have expressed gratitude for the support received. Hebronites have also taken others out for meals to catch up and pray. In all of these instances, there was clearly no other motive than to give spiritual encouragement and show solidarity in times of crisis or transition.
What can you do this week as the Lunar New Year celebrations roll in? Apart from your customary visitation of relatives, would you consider visiting at least one Hebronite and his or her family? Last Lunar New Year, I brought my family to visit two families who live around the church. We enjoyed their kind and generous hospitality. For avoidance of doubt, we weren’t there for the hong baos for our three children but we left their homes with New Year goodies that they wouldn’t let us go without!
Then, during the course of the year, make plans to visit at least two families. It doesn’t matter if all you hope to achieve in that visit is just to get to know them better—this is as good a reason as any. Make a start with the members of your KG or CG or Bible study group.
Ps Shin Hoe