How can we celebrate the new year, when we have to anticipate the end of the world all year?
My first reaction to the “news” that the world was ending on December 21, 2012 was fear and dread. I had the same reaction to Harold Camping’s prediction that judgment was coming on May 21, 2011 .
The Metro Calgary newspaper did a creative set of stories on the topic, which showed that people have various ideas of what is meant by “the end of the world”. Some thought it was a physical end caused by an asteroid or global warming. Others thought it was an economic melt down in which we couldn’t buy food or water, so they figured they would stock up. I think it’s Armageddon, in which World War III breaks out because of Middle East and Western tensions forcing nuclear warfare. Pretty scary stuff.
My second reaction to these predictions was to sit down and have a talk with God. Only he knows the exact date of the “end of the world”. I asked him to calm my fears and told him that if I was doing to die at the end of this year then I wish that I had done more to help the needy around the globe. I said I wanted to obey whatever he is calling me to do and asked him to keep changing me in order to make those things happen. I am only one flawed person with limitations, but I can do everything Christ gives me strength to do, so that is what I have to trust in on a daily basis.
Two days ago, my son and I went to Astronomy Night at Telus Spark, Calgary’s new Science Center. Near the end of his talk about interesting astronomical events coming up in this year, the speaker, astronomer Alan Dyer, mentioned the winter solstice and the dire predictions.
His approach was that of the awesome cartoon by Dan Piraro, that the ending of the Mayan Calendar wasn’t much different from the ending of our yearly calendar on December 31st. Therefore, there was nothing to worry about. (Wikipedia quotes, “For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle…To render December 21, 2012, as a doomsday event or moment of cosmic shifting is a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in.”)
And I agree that there is nothing to worry about because of the ending of the Mayan Calendar…
I think there are some things to “worry” about, because I think that there are such things as “healthy” fears. The trepidation of standing on the edge of a cliff, taking drugs, fighting in a war—these are healthy, sane, good fears. And I think that the fear of death is also a good fear, if you haven’t settled the matter of God and heaven and hell.
My co-worker said she was terrified about December 21, 2012. I said I wasn’t terrified of the Mayan Calendar causing the end of the world, but I was pretty sure that we’re heading in that general direction because of Biblical prophecies of Christ’s return that seem to be coming true, one after the other. And those predictions sound scary.
Here’s where our faith comes in. What do we depend on? What do we trust in for our safety and well-being? Our family and friends? Our financial portfolio? Scientists? Our church attendance? Social programs? Our government? Our good deeds? A higher power? That’s me, like the American coins, “In God I Trust”.
We can have a Happy New Year in 2012.