It may be September 2021 in our world, but Ethiopia just celebrated New Year’s 2014.
New Year, whenever celebrated, is a time of reflection of the past and hope for the future. Throughout the world, and certainly in Ethiopia, it’s a time when all people need a revival of spirit and an action plan to bring God more into our thoughts, actions, our world. In this new year, we lift up prayers for Ethiopia and its people, a country with an illustrious history as deep as any world empire, and a land that’s also experienced the lowest ebbs of human tragedy. A multi-cultural quilt of peoples and traditions, it stands at a time of monumental challenge, and potential change: either soaring or sinking.
Ethiopia’s New Year
Ethiopia welcomed in the Year of Mark, 2014, on September 11, 2021 (Gregorian calendar). Last year, 2013, was the Year of Mathew in the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition. Ethiopia and several other Orthodox Christian countries continue to use the Julian calendar, instituted by Julius Caesar in 45 BC. The Catholic Church changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1582 and most countries now use this time frame. Ethiopia’s calendar has 13 months, and each of the 12 months has 30 days, while the 13th month called Pagumen has five days, which becomes six in each leap year.
Springtime in September
It’s lovely to celebrate the New Year in mid-September in Ethiopia! It’s Ethiopian “spring.” Why is it referred to as spring? In Ethiopia, September is often the time when the weather is changing, from the damp rainy season to days of brilliant sunshine on the new greenery that sprouts everywhere—from pastures to fields, high mountains to the Rift Valley. In the brilliant green, a carpet of yellow flowers, the “Adey Abeba” seems to bring hope for a new year, a new world.
Last year, not so happy
Ethiopia certainly needs that hope this year, with a troubling period of civil war and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It wasn’t a “happy year” in 2013. But God is in all things, with all of us through all the messes we make, or that we “fall” into through no fault of our own. Often, we grow closer to God when we have challenges and when we suffer. We can’t understand all things that happen in and around us. But we know this as fact: God is with us. We must work to bring God into our lives daily so we see God most easily when we suffer. As I know, and you know, those are simple things to write, to say. But, we get caught up in “the world” and thus, when challenged, we might not handle things as well as we’d hope.
A renewal of spirit needed
For me, that’s my lesson for 2014 (Ethiopian calendar!). Bring God even deeper into my life so that Jesus lives in me in a more vibrant and fulfilling way.
To that end, I’m excited to be joining the Renovare Book Club for 2021-2022 with its focus on going deep into the spiritual disciplines. Check it out.