T great excitement over the Year 2000 included a lot of misguided hype about the religious millennium, the 2000th year since the birth of Jesus Christ.
Some were sure there was some cosmic significance to the count of years in our calendar arriving at 2000. Some even tried to associate the end of the millennium with the end of the world.
The original purpose of the current western calendar was to count the years of the Christian Era (since the birth of Jesus). Attempts were made to correlate the previous variant calendars BACK to the time Jesus was thought to have been born. It involved problems like the 8-day week of Rome compared with the 7-day Jewish week that became common.
It was not a simple task to figure back over several hundred years to try to determine how many days had passed through all the different calendars on record. Many forget that historical study indicates there were some errors in the way the calendar was determined when it was reorganized, so it is thought Jesus was actually born in 4 BC or maybe 6 BC by our calendar. Some have also proposed 7 BC.
That would mean that the 2000th anniversary of Jesus' birth actually occurred in 1996 or maybe 1994!
Ha! As a serious Christian believer myself, I found the religious Y2K hype amusing but irritating, because it focuses on the peripherals; it detracts from the good news of God's love and reclaiming work in the world. God works in his own time, not in some pattern of the erroneous calendars we create for our own needs. Even Jesus says the Father had not informed him of the end time scenario.
There is absolutely NOTHING significant in Christian faith about the Year 2000. Certainly no biblical indications. Only if you impose somebody's symbolic system upon the beautiful and pure record of scripture, and manipulate texts in order to create the appearance of a scenario to fit the interpretation.
The Year 2000 WAS a significant opportunity for reflection, self-evaluation and planning for the church as it considers whether it is representing Jesus in the world. It is a time to be ready, as is every year.
Celebrate the birth of Jesus and each new year with your confidence in God, not the calendar!
Cheers for the Years of the New Millennium!.
Originally written in 1999
Last revised 13 April 2002
Page updated 1 January 2010
Orville Boyd Jenkins, EdD, PhD
Copyright © Orville Boyd Jenkins 1999, 2004
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use. Other rights reserved.
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