We Filipinos always want to welcome New Year with a bang. Our most popular choice in doing this is using firecrackers. There are also other means like trumpets and drums. Of course, we should celebrate the New Year especially if we see it as a time for a new beginning, a new start, a time to change for the better. We always want to start the New Year right as we hope for a good year ahead. But should we celebrate with firecrackers, especially us Christians? I will argue that it is unwise for us Christians to use firecrackers. I will offer three insights on why Christians should not use firecrackers after giving a short background on the significance of firecrackers.
The use of firecrackers is a Chinese tradition that we Filipinos inherited. In a capsule, Chinese people welcome their new year with the loud sounds of firecrackers to scare the evil spirits away. They complement it with the dragon dance, red color and lots of circular shapes that all symbolize prosperity and good luck. This is their way of starting the New Year right - driving demons away and welcoming prosperity in. As the Chinese have become part of our Filipino community, we have assimilated their tradition. We have adapted their tradition of welcoming New Year in the hope that we may also be prosperous like most of our Filipino-Chinese brothers and sisters. We light up the air, make noises and wear lucky colors and shapes in hoping for good luck and good health for the New Year. However, is it wise for Christians to also use firecrackers?
Firecrackers will not make us healthy. In fact, they are hazardous to our health. Every year, hundreds of people seek medical attention due to firecracker injury or poisoning. Last year, the DOH reported 613 firecracker-related injuries from the period of Dec 21, '08 to Jan 3 '09. Of those injured, 24 underwent finger or hand amputation, 116 suffered eye injuries and the rest had blast and burn injuries. The use of firecrackers is risky for our bodies and health. The Bible reminds us to take care of our bodies, the temple of God. Caring for our bodies’ means walking away from risky and insignificant practices that nay hurt us
As Christians, we are to be stewards of this Earth. It is unwise for us to engage in practices that contribute to the destruction of our world. The smoke that comes from the firecrackers increases the carbon in the air that causes the environmentally destructive 'greenhouse effect.' Add this to the fact that the debris and empty shells of the firecrackers add to the pile of everyday garbage. The production and use of firecrackers also wastes our energy resources. We must be responsible stewards of Gods creation. Let us therefore refrain from hastening Earths destruction.
As Christians, we do not believe firecrackers have the power to defeat evil like Jesus does. Only Christ has the power to defeat evil. As Christians, we also do not believe in good luck. Our hope for a prosperous New Year does not lay with luck but with Jesus Christ our Messiah. He delivers us from harm and evil. Our faith in Christ is complete that He will do great things for us, things that will prosper us and not harm us. I do not mean in a simplistic way that Christianity spells prosperity. But we can boldly say that it is in Jesus Christ where we put all our hope, our future, and our successes. We don’t have to make the loudest bang of a firecracker, because Jesus is the firecracker that will bless us through the New Year and always.