Sunday, January 29, 2017

Reflections on Diversity

I love Chinese New Year. It's such a fun holiday - great food, a focus on family time, fireworks - all the makings of a fantastic celebration!

This year we had the joy of hosting our local Chinese New Year's party at CenterPoint. I'm so grateful to have a church facility that's open to gatherings like this! It's a wonderful way to serve and connect with our community.

The party was a blast as always. The decorations were super festive. The food was amazing. The company was delightful. We learned about Chinese New Year traditions, exchanged red envelopes, made Year of the Rooster crafts, and clapped along with the dragon parade.

We also had the joy of welcoming a dozen people from our community who participate in the Conversation Cafe conversational English club at church. It was so fun to blend together our adoptive family friends and our learning-English friends together in one big party.

Chinese New Year has been a super special holiday to me for a while, and this year my reflections were filled with a special gratitude.

As our nation grapples with the threat of bigotry and prejudice becoming an accepted part of our national identity, I hold gatherings like this precious. We crossed cultural, racial, and religious boundaries. We welcomed folks born in the U.S., China, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, and Mexico. We learned from each other, ate together, laughed together, and just enjoyed each other. I don't want to over-spiritualize Panda Express takeout and $50 worth of fireworks, but I think there's something really special about crossing lines and coming together to celebrate like this.

We are a family of blended heritage. We have a daughter from a Muslim-majority country and one from a Socialist nation. We don't look the same, but are bonded by love and respect and devotion to each other.

And let's never forget that, like our relationship with God, our girls came to us with nothing to offer. We loved them and they responded to that love - we didn't ask that they prove their worthiness or their affiliation to our cause or their adherence to our religion.
We love because he first loved us.

Gathering together over takeout this weekend was, to me, a profound celebration of what is precious and how I want my life, my family, my church, my community, and my nation to be defined.

Also, kudos to Sam for finding something he actually wanted to eat at the party and for making it "Chinese" by eating with chopsticks.

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