When I was a kid and we’d go for Chinese food, one of my favorite parts was pouring over the paper placements and figuring what animal everyone according to the year they were born.
I was a sheep (also translated ‘goat’). I loved it. To my American ears it sounded better than rat or dragon or snake.
And then I grew up and moved to China and loved it even more.
1. This is my year! As people get older, they are less inclined to claim their year because people can figure out how old they will turn that year. There are 12 animals and it doesn’t take a math genius to crack the code that on your year you are 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84 or 96 — with 60 being the best since it’s a multiple of 10. Since it’s also my year of practicing celebration, I don’t really care that you know my age. I am what I am. And guess what … it’s my year!
2. The word for sheep/goat in Chinese is pronounced “Yang” and my Chinese family name is Yang. Yang shi yang! Young is a sheep. It sounds better in Chinese, trust me. And I know that’s not how you say in Chinese which of the zodiac animals you are, but my Chinese friends always got a smile out of my mixing of the cultures and languages. Not only is it my year, it’s my name.
3. And best of all, Jesus says he’s the good shepherd. Sheep hold a special place in explaining how much God loves us and will protect us. Psalm 23 was one of the first scriptures I memorized in 1st grade. So, in a sense, it’s all of our year.
Happy New Year Friends!
Chun Jie Kuai Le!
From one of your favorite sheep, Amy
P.S. thanks to my sister Elizabeth for working with two challenging sheep to get just the right photo. I’ll spare you the ones with one of our rears in the air, a bit unlady-like!