As any Singaporean would say, Chinese New Year isn’t Chinese New Year without the delectable delights we’ve grown to love – easy on the tastebuds, but hard on the waistline.

While we can’t do much about the calorie fest, we’re going to shine a new light on our beloved snacks this CNY. To most, they’re just goodies we mindlessly pop into our mouths as we sit round the coffee table. But to us, every bite could be an opportunity to live out the fruit of the Spirit.

You know: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and that most difficult of fruit to stomach when faced with a tableful of festive goodies, self-control.

In the name of Love, we start our “Fruit of the Spirit: CNY Edition” with with some good old love letters, also known as kueh belanda.

Stepping into any relative’s house on 初一, the first day of CNY, you’ll probably be inundated with typical questions about your studies or non-existent girl/boyfriend. Comments will be made about how you’ve gained weight, or how you’ve grown taller (even if you’ve stopped growing for the past 7 years). You’re going to be compared with your cousins.

You leave feeling less of a person than when you stepped in. Their words aren’t always nice, and sometimes plain hurtful.

No matter what people say to you at Chinese New Year, choose to respond with the first fruit of the Spirit: Love.

But despite all of that, we are called to love. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:7). No matter what other feelings arise as the reunions take place, choose to respond with the first fruit of the Spirit.

So as you crunch on the delicate sweetness of kueh belanda – that’s the traditional name of love letters  remember that love is more than a feeling. Rather, it is patient and kind, and it is a choice. So when we visit one another this CNY, be brave. With every roll, triangle or crushed-up fragment of love letter going into our mouths, let’s agape like Jesus.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)