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Category Archives: Letters from 陆 Lu

Have a wonderful 羊年!

Friends, happy new year – the Year of the Ram? Sheep? Goat?

My Chinese friends seem to have different feelings about what the proper English name for the year should be: should it be the sheep? Well … sheep are soft and curly and pleasant and rather tame – you don’t see them going out and fighting anyone, do you?! Farm animals, we think of them as rather defenseless, and not altogether intelligent.

Chinese-New-Year-of-The-Sheep-Ram-Goat Goats? Well … also farm animals, but rather more intelligent than sheep, and more mischievous, too. When I was a child my parents told me that goats would eat anything! They like to push other animals around in order to get their way. One friend tells me that their meat tastes very good, too – though I haven’t tried it yet. 😉

2015-Year-Of-The-Ram The Ram? Well … in English “ram” is simply a male sheep. However … where I live, we have wild mountains, and wild mountain sheep – and the Ram is a big, powerful wild mountain animal. You don’t play games with him – you respect him, or he will show you the meaning of trouble!

It’s your calendar and your culture, not mine – do you have any thoughts about what it should be? I suppose that 羊 could be any of the 3 above, since in zoological classification they’re all cousins, as one friend said to me. Which do you prefer that it be? And why?

For my part, no matter which one you choose, I hope and pray for 神’s grace and kindness to you in the New Year … do you need to be cared for, like the Sheep? Are you at a stage in your life where you can’t defend yourself so much, where it’s all you can do to survive each day? This happens to many people! May He provide everything you need, so that you will not have to be afraid of anything. May the confidence of your heart be greater than anything else in your world, because 神 is the Best Shepherd. If He is your shepherd, then He will lead you through everything to the best destination, where you will find the deepest meaning and satisfaction for your life.

Are you like the Goat, more energetic, pushing your way through resistance to find better things to consume? May 神’s wise heart and powerful hand guide you, so that your energy and curiosity will lead to good places instead of trouble, new adventures of learning the best life – not more conflict. May He give you deep satisfaction in His gift of new hope, far beyond what this world gives – so that you won’t waste your heart on things of this world that don’t satisfy the deepest hunger.

Are you the Ram, wild and untamed, fighting with all your great strength so that you and the people you love will survive and prosper? May 神’s generous heart and sure purpose guide you, so that your energy turns to His purposes – so that you become part of how He makes this world better now. May He protect you and give you peace in the deep places – not to take your energy away, but to turn your energy to ways of making peace, not more trouble. So that He can add His energy and direction and confident purpose to your life … so that He can lead you to crash through the trouble that comes from darkness, so that you and the people you love – and many more people – can find their way to light and freedom and peace.

This year I’ll miss the 饺子 and the fireworks and the food and fun with friends. But I hope you enjoy it all. May your 2015 be the year of 神’s great blessing and strength to you, a year of change for the better, and protection through the transitions.


Studies in The Library

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