"This month shall be your beginning of months"
Do you remember that old poem "thirty days hath September, April, June and November; all the rest have thirty-one, save February which stands alone" ? Catchy in it's old-fashioned-ness, isn't it?
I was reminding my Amazing Boy of that a few weeks ago, as he tried to remember how many days in a particular month. And then we got to talking about the weirdness of months. Why October, November and December, have the prefixes "oct," "nov," and "dec," respectively, which mean "eight," "nine," and "ten", respectively, even though they are not the eighth, ninth, and tenth months, respectively.
And why the months have the number of days that they do.
And why February not only has a different number of days than the others, it even has a different number of days than itself some years!
Why is a day 24 hours long? Why is an hour 60 minutes? Why is a week 7 days, or a year 365 days? And why is our system of keeping track of time not based on ten, like our system of counting? The answers are interesting and complicated, and have to do with the Egyptians, the Sumerians, and the Greeks. At least. There may have been even more civilizations involved for all I know.
My favorite anomaly, if you want to call it that, is Leap Day. I love the fact that our years are 365 days long, when really, they need to be 365 1/4 days long. That, of course, would be complicated or impossible, so the solution was to add a day every fourth year. But the catch to the catch? Not every fourth year contains a leap day. Years that are divisible by 100, but not by 400, are not leap years. So 1900 didn't have a leap day in it. I don't entirely understand the reasoning behind this. But I'm not too worried about it, because that's not going to happen again until 2100. If I'm still around ~ which would be quite remarkable ~ I'll just have an extra helping of ice cream to celebrate!
A year is a year because that's how long it takes the earth to orbit around the sun. But here's the thing: How long it takes the earth to orbit around the sun is God's design. The number of days it takes the earth to orbit the sun is man's design. And we got it wrong. Days are wrong. Hours are wrong. Minutes are wrong.
Now, of course, I'm being (mostly) facetious. It's not that our measurements of time are wrong. It's that we, I don't think, did it the way He would have done it. Just a hunch. Otherwise we wouldn't be needing to add an extra day every four years as a patch job or a bandaid.
Sometimes I wonder what God thinks as He watches us blundering through this world. I know nothing surprises Him, but I wonder if He shakes His head sometimes, thinking He wishes we could have come to some realization or other, a little sooner. Maybe it's like when a parents watches their toddler trying to solve a problem, and the parent just lovingly waits for the little one to figure it out.
It's things like this that remind me how much He loves us. We learn, we err, we grow as humans, each generation a little wiser than the last, although maybe a little more foolish, too.
For you, and me, for those Egyptians, Sumerians and Greeks who came before us, and those who will come after us. For us, Jesus died. Love.
~ "We love Him because He first loved us" ~
1 John 4:19