Friday, July 1, 2011


     "Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill

     And it's true. In the summer, the days are significantly longer than days in the winter. That is, if you're in the northern hemisphere. It also means that dinner is nearly always around nine o'clock. If there's light on the farm, there's work to do on the farm, so when there's light at eight thirty, you had better still be working. 
     Obviously, this isn't quite what Churchill meant. Nonetheless, it springboards me into something that has boggled mathematicians and confounded the regular person like me for centuries. 
     We kill it, we waste it, we get ahead of it, we keep it, we lose it, we get behind it, we pay for it, we wait for it, and inevitably, we all want more of it in a day. It's troublesome, granted. 
     In 1852, mankind messed with time even more by trying to force it into a pad of twelve sheets of paper with grids drawn on them. 
     Pope Gregory XIII made a revolutionary revision to the previous Julian calendar by suppressing ten days of the year, and compensating for them with a strange invention called a leap year. We now call this system of keeping time the modern Gregorian calendar. 
     I personally think that this calendar may have been a by-product of the European Enlightenment. Thousands of years ago, there was once a calendar that was simple and effective. It was traditional, and driven by legacy, not reason. I would propose that this old-fashioned and customary way of measuring the nebulous of time may not have fit the standards of logic and reason that the philosophers of the day stood by. They wanted concrete, not conceptual. Numbers, not shapes. Perfection, not discretion. 
     Even the head of the Catholic church was willing to reform traditionalism for the sake of reason. By doing what he thought was right, Pope Gregory may have inadvertently changed the way that time was meant to be kept, and added unneeded complexity to an already inerrant calendar. 
     This simple, traditional calendar was lunar, not solar like the Gregorian calendar. In other words, every time that the moon was full, you would be halfway through the month. The first night when you could see a crescent moon would be the start of a new month. It was, and still is, that simple. Every cycle of twelve moons is one year. Every three years or so, a simple repeat of one month allows for tracking with the seasons. The first day of the week is what we now call Sunday, and each new day began at sundown, not at midnight. It actually makes a lot of sense. Back when there was no logical reason to stay up after the sun had set, the day ended at sundown, and a new day would begin. 
     Believe it or not, the framework of this first calendar system was set up by God Himself. 
     In approximately 1312 BCE on the night of what is now the full moon of April or March, a mass group of people filtered out of Ancient Egypt under the light of a full moon. They were leaving behind lives of slavery, and they were also leaving behind the eerie wailings of Egyptian families. It was the first Feast of Passover; the Israelite Exodus. 
     Fourteen days earlier, God had instituted His calendar. 

     "The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 'This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell all the congregation of if Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household... and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight." - Exodus 12:1-3 and 6 

     Fourteen days was nearly halfway through the month. This offering of the lambs happened one day before the first Passover, and therefore landed one day before the halfway marker: the full moon. It makes perfect sense that God would give light to his children as he led them out of Egypt on that first Passover night. 
     Thousands of years later, the Passover Feast is still celebrated on this very night. Fifteen days into the first month; the month that God names "Abib." 

     "Observe the month of Abib and keep the Passover to the Lord your God, for in the month of Abib the Lord your God brought you out of Egypt by night." - Deuteronomy 16:1 

     In the civil Jewish calendar of today, the month of Abib is called "Nisan" and is considered as the seventh month of the year, not the first. Actually, the civil Jewish calendar is almost as messed up as today's Gregorian calendar, but we know for certain that on the fifteenth day of the first month, the month Abib, God has set up a timeless feast of remembrance and joy. Passover serves to continually remind us of our deliverance from bondage; be it the physical Egypt, or be it sin: the Egypt of our souls. Jesus, Yeshua, is the only one who can deliver us from that Egypt of sin. 
     Passover is also one of seven Biblical feasts instituted by God on his own calendar. Just like God created Holy and set-apart places on earth like the tabernacle and temple, God also created holy and set-apart places in time like Passover. 
     For our family, Passover is a wonderful time of joy and peace. No matter how crazy our modern calendars can get, we can always count on the consistency of God's calendar. Until the moon gets sucked into a wormhole, we'll always know when Passover comes around each year. 
     Needless to say, time still confuses me, and even using God's calendar, time will still be somewhere in that nebulous fourth dimension just waiting for a time machine. 
     But I do know one thing, my dear reader. I know that today is not your birthday. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the first part on time. What if someone read this on their birthday? I must quibble about the "BCE" method of keeping track of years. I know it is practically the same, but I consider "BCE" and "CE" too politically correct, if you know what I mean. When I think of time, I think of a canvas. I think of time as the blank space were God paints his picture. If this brushstroke went over there, it wouldn't be the same. God puts everything, even the ugly browns in a certain place for a reason. Though the brush strokes surrounding the area see the brown as an ugly, and dark color, if they could see the whole spectrum as God does, they would see why it is there. Sorry. I got carried away. Great post!