(Replica of an ancient Viking calendar.)
I'm not very much for celebrating the New Year.
I mean, if you think about it, it's all rather arbitrary and a little ridiculous, isn't it?
"Oh look, our planet has revolved around the sun one more time. Let's rejoice, make an enormous amount of noise, perhaps launch some explosive devices with colorful burning minerals, and imbibe large quantities of alcohol in celebration of this new beginning."
That never seemed like a totally logic response to such a common and predictable astrological event.
Our current Gregorian Calendar wasn't even adopted until 1582, and not everyone in the Western World all signed on to it at the same time anyway. Prior to that, the Julian Calendar (implemented by Julius Caesar) where the New Year began on March 1, had been in use since 45 B.C. The exact date of our New year has been hopping around the calendar since the dawn of written history and many different cultures and faiths celebrate the "New Year" at different times of the year.
The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, is in September.
The Chinese New Year is in late January or early February.
Muslims won't celebrate a New Year until September 21.
Buddhists celebrate the New Year after the first full moon in April.
And, in Ethiopia, it's September 11, after the end of the big rains.
Since Earth's orbit around the sun is roughly circular, one can pick pretty much anywhere as a starting point and it really doesn't matter.
Our obsession with keeping accurate time probably has a lot to do with our equally obsessive compulsion for accurate records. Human beings seem to have a need for knowing who was king when and for how long, in addition to recording crop harvests.
Now, that all has certain practical applications, and I certainly understand why we would keep track of time.
But, the other day, a song on Kinship Christian Radio opened something in my soul that just floored me.
The song is "Live on Forever" by The Afters and it's about eternity.
Specifically, it is about the fact that we are designed to live forever.
We are designed for eternity.
Our Bibles not only say that eternity is real, but that what is eternal is more real than what we are experiencing right now:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV)
And in that moment, when that song that I had heard before but never really paid attention to broke through my everyday, same-as-usual drive to work, I realized that eternity is not just real for me.
Every human being ever born is designed for eternity. Each and every one of us will live forever in one place or another. All of the rushing around, all of the focus on all the stuff around us, all of our record-keeping and planning is incredible minutiae compared to eternity.
The endlessness of the eternal stretched before me, awed me, and I now realize that this eternity in our souls is the design of not just an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God, but of an eternal God.
That's why the one thing every child in Sunday School memorizes, the one thing we as Christians all know no matter our denomination, the one thing we hang our faith on, is that same verse that promises that whosoever believes in Jesus Christ shall not perish, but will have eternal life.
And so, brothers and sisters in Christ, as we begin another orbit around the light the gives us life, I leave you with the words
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)
In His service and to His glory-- Dan Jones <><