This year is the Year of the Sheep or Ram. In Chinese thought the ram is associated with energy and strength, so we trust that this coming year may be filled with God’s gift of energy and strength for us all. As one gets older these characteristics take on greater importance, but God is gracious and good. He gives us the energy we need day by day for whatever he purposes in our lives. As Christians of course we think immediately of Jesus as the Lamb of God who has sacrificed himself for our sins and who gives us his new life of strength and energy. As his followers we are his sheep and he cares for us and leads us into the green pastures we need.
Yesterday evening the East Asian students at All Nations Christian College laid on a celebratory evening meal in traditional Chinese fashion – even with a humorous lion dance!
They had cooked a superb dinner for the whole college, explained the traditions of Chinese New Year and had a variety of amusing inputs. They were also dressed in traditional costume, so we also dressed up. Elizabeth wore a lovely old red Chinese robe which had belonged to her mother when they worked in China in the early years of the 20th century. I went in a slim grey embroidered robe which had been presented to me by the Indian churches which Elizabeth’s great-grandparents started in Maharashtra back in the 1840s. Altogether a lovely evening. It is such a joy and privilege still to be associated with the college, relating not only to our friends on the staff there but also to the rich variety of students from so many different countries in every continent. The British students too are generally excited at how relevant the cross-cultural training is for multi-ethnic and culturally fast-changing Britain.