In another article (163) I told you about the error in our present calendar. The calendar by which we mark time was commissioned over 500 years after the birth of Christ. Actually, it was A.D. 525 when Pope John I asked a Scythian monk named Dionysius to prepare a standard calendar for the Western Christian Church. (This information comes from Dr. Harold Hoehner's book, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, page 11.) Dionysius' decision was to accept December 25 of the year 753 A.U.C. (anno urbis conditae, the year of the foundation of Rome) as the birth date of Jesus. However, we now know from other sources that the Herod who sought to put Jesus to death in his infancy actually died in the spring of the year 749 A.U.C. Jesus couldn't possibly have been born after that. So, the very latest that Jesus could have been born was the spring of 749 A.U.C., which is equivalent to our 4 B.C. But, since there are several lines of ancient traditional belief that Christ was born in late December, it is more than likely that He was born in the winter of 5 B.C. This means that a full four years must be added to our calendar if we really mean A.D. when we give a date. Thus, 1996 is actually 2000 A.D. [Editor's note: This article was written in January, 1996.]
The point? This new year begins a new millennium from the birth of the Savior. How will we kick-start this new millennium? There are only two ways. First, we can ease into this new millennium as if it were only a continuation of time with nothing really changed. Second, we can see the beginning of a new millennium as an opportunity to make a new start. Which should we do?
To answer, let me ask a few questions. Is the direction this world is taking suitable to you? Does the prospect of more war, more famine, more crime, more fiscal insanity, more disintegration of families, more deterioration of the quality of life for our souls, and more conflict in our communities sound like a good deal to you? If not, what are you and I going to do about it? What can you and I do about it?
Well, for sure, we cannot do any more than make our own decisions. We cannot make others come to their senses. We cannot make decisions that others will like or agree to. We can only make decisions for ourselves. And, to make the right decisions, we must come to grips with one fact: we are part of the scenario of disaster that the questions above point to. Every time we do something selfish, ungodly, thoughtless, or in independence from God, we are part of the problem rather than any kind of cure. And, since almost no one wants to admit to being the reason for the problems, the prospects for real change in the millennium to come are practically nil. But it doesn't have to be that way for you and me as individuals. I can have a new beginning. You also can have a new beginning. For, you see, I can pray; so can you. And if we are willing, God will make the beginning of this new millennium a new beginning for us--even if no one else is willing for it to be new. How about it?