Happy Arbitrary Point in Earth’s Orbit

 

Ever wonder why January 1 starts a new year? 

 

I mean, why this specific point in earth’s rotation around the sun? Wouldn’t it seem more logical to begin our calendars at the beginning of one of the seasons –like spring, for example?

 

As it turns out, it used to. 

 

According to history.com, the ancient Roman calendar did begin the new year in March, but it was woefully inaccurate as it was based on the moon’s rotation around the earth rather than the earth’s rotation around the sun. This was further complicated by officials in the Roman government occasionally adding days to the calendar to extend political terms or interfere with elections. 

 

So, in 45 B.C., Julius Caesar decreed that 45 days would be added to that year which meant that 46 B.C. would begin in January instead of March. He also decreed that, once every four years, an extra day would be added to February to account for a year actually being 365 and one-fourth days.

 

That worked well for a very long time until it was discovered that the year was actually 365.242199 days, not 365.25. The tiny error meant that about 1600 years after implementation, the calendar was off by 10 days. In 1582, at the direction of Pope Gregory XIII, the current calendar was implemented.

 

So, why is an accurate calendar important anyway?

 

God gives us the answer in some of the very first verses of the Bible:

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years, … Genesis 1:14 (ESV)

 

Our food comes from the earth. So, knowing when to plant that food is very, very important. We take this for granted now because there is always an abundance of food in the grocery store, but an accurate knowledge of the signs and the seasons was crucial to our ancestors –and still is.

 

The glorious cosmic ballet of the earth rotating around the sun as it tilts ever so slightly back and forth while the moon rotates around the earth is all part of God’s plan. The plants that grow and feed us are regulated and dependent on changes in day length associated with this grand ballet. Everything is interconnected and linked in a glorious, wonderful web of life so amazing and complex that (despite how smart we think we are) we still do not fully understand.

 

We never would have figured out the exact length of a year was off by .007801 days each year had God not put the stars in the heavens as points of reference, which (not coincidentally) is exactly what He said He did in His Word. 

 

We are blessed beyond measure because He does make all things new each year. The snow covers the ground now and the earth is frozen beneath it, but that freeze-thaw cycle softens the earth and allows the seeds to reach down into it and draw up water and nutrients when spring comes. 

 

And, as the songs of praise and the teaching of His Word will tell you on Kinship Christian Radio, He makes us new also. 

 

We go through cycles and seasons of cold and dark but the warmth and light of Jesus is assured to us. We are part of His plan. 

 

He shines upon us so that we can grow and produce fruit.

 

The glory of His plan is that we can reflect that light to others as we are renewed in Him, not just once a year, but each new day. 

 

Today’s Praise

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3: 4-7 (ESV)

 

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