The organisers of Sydney’s Chinese New Year parade say that it’s the largest celebration outside China, and we didn’t want to miss out. Our girls still remember visiting Brisbane’s Chinatown two years ago at the start of the Year of the Tiger.

Brioni and Aisha playing on a toy keyboard, January 2012
As we walk to the train station, our girls get in the party mood with the help of a toy keyboard that is left outside a charity shop. We've written our phone number on the girls' arms so that if they become separated from us in the crowd, someone can easily contact us.

Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney, January 2012
The crowd that lines the street is estimated to number around 100,000.

The people around us were so thick that it was hard to see many performers. However, as spectators around us raised their phones to capture the parade, we could watch the live action on the little screens. Our girls did well — they ducked down, squeezed between the legs of the adults and squatted down right alongside the metal fence palings. So they had front-row seats for the parade’s glorious colour and action.

Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney, January 2012
Leading the procession is this huge golden head which the City of Sydney's creative director Gill Minervini says provides form to the idea that the parade itself is the body and tail of a massive dragon.

Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney, January 2012
Interestingly, the dragon is the only animal in the Chinese zodiac which is legendary. All the other animals still exist today.

Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney, January 2012
"Restaurant dragon" is a collection of hundreds of Chinese dishes, spoons and bamboo dumpling steamers in a tribute to the many Chinese restaurants in the city.

Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney, January 2012
The Year of the Dragon is considered the luckiest year in the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney, January 2012
Almost 3000 performers participate in the parade that winds its way through Sydney's central business district.

This outing was a faith-stretching time for David and me. God is in control — we know the intellectual theory. However, the theory means nothing until we have our faith exercised.

One by one, our girls disappeared into the sea of legs. Delaney was still in the stroller for quite a while, and we thought she was content to stay there until we turned around and found the pram empty.

Getting down on all fours, David peered through the crowd at child-height. He caught a glimpse of a small pair of legs in jeans and a red shirt — it had to be 2yo Dell who had joined her sisters at the front of the lines of people.

So there we were — standing in the throng, childless. All illusion of control had been removed. Was anything wrong? Of course not. God is in control.

Eventually our children emerged from their places. They returned to us for food, kisses and cuddles. At the same time, they were content in their independence and felt secure despite being surrounded by strangers. We, too, learned to enter that same state of contentment as we trusted in the One who holds our lives in a good balance.

Chinese New Year Parade in Sydney, January 2012
As soon as the parade is over, the street cleaners are out in force.

As the floats went past me, I kept wondering if we could participate in such a parade, and if we did, how would we decorate our truck and trailer? Perhaps that will be an adventure to come!