This week I experienced a first. Although I am 50 years old and have been very active all of those years, I have, for the first time in my entire life, picked out, bought, and hung my own wall calendar!
I know this may seem like a small matter to most people, but until this year, I would always just hang up whatever calendar I got from some business that mailed me one for free. Sometimes it might be an office supplies store, insurance company, or the local funeral home. In fact, I must admit that because it came free, I did not really appreciate the fact that somebody had to design it, pick out the pictures, make sure all the holidays were properly highlighted and print thousands of them. What a wonderful and helpful tool this is!
Well, not only do I have my very own personally picked out calendar, I have along with it a New Year's resolution to improve my calendar skills. For many this is just a natural part of every day life, but for us who are "calendar challenged" it takes more of a conscious effort. I do not have any real problem keeping busy. I have always managed to fill a week, month, and year with productive activity, but my innate lack of calendar friendliness has sometimes thrown a wrinkle into my schedule. Things can sneak up on me sometimes. So, this year I got some help from my wife and marked my own calendar, for the whole year, with all kinds of reminders of important dates.
Of course it helps to not only look at the calendar but to study it. For example I noticed that this month all the Sunday's dates are a multiple of seven. Next month it will not be that way so I must think of some other trick for getting the calendar in my head so when I am away from it I still have a handle on it. Funny how I can remember the words to hundreds of songs and hundreds of scripture passages but have a hard time recalling what date the second Tuesday of Feb. falls on. I am always impressed when someone knows the answer just as readily as if they were looking at the calendar with both eyes! I sometimes have to think about it to remember what day it is today!
The calendar is a living, breathing thing. It changes each year. It reflects the past centuries of traditions, occasional tinkering and, if we are truthful, is somewhat unwieldy, yet we all are either served by it, or tyrannized by it, depending on how we choose to relate to it.
The calendar is a thing of this world. The very names of the days retain their pagan roots. SUNday, MOONday, Tuesday (after the god Tyr), Wodensday (Odin), Thorsday (Thor), Friday (the goddess Frigga), SATURNday.
The months also bear witness to the pagan origins of our calendar. Janus (roman deity with two faces), Februa, (Roman festival of purification), March (Mars the war god), April (Aprilis, the season of fertility), May (Maia goddess of growth), June (wife of Jupiter), August (emperor of Rome and claimant to deity). The rest are simply Latin numbers.
It's enough to make you wonder why Christians did not develop and adopt an alternate calendar system rather than use one with so much pagan leftovers in it! Yet, we do use it, and we use it effectively every day, to do good works. It is a universally accepted tool of keeping track of time. It helps us keep appointments, plan our work, keep track of anniversaries, and mark the amount of time we have spent alive on this planet.
Where am I going with this? We must all live where we live. We live in time. We live here and now. Let's make the most of our time. Let's get to know it well. Every month, every week, every day. Let's "redeem the time for the days are evil". Join me in working with this calendar thing to make this year count for the Lord Jesus Christ!
"Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that the stuff life is made of." Benjamin Franklin
"What we love to do we find time to do." John L. Spalding
"How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." Annie Dillard
and for balance.... "Half our life is spent trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save." Will Rogers