The longest year in history was 46 B.C., the year Julius Caesar decided to straighten out the calendar that served the Roman Empire. The old calendar was a mess. In 135 B.C., Roman priests decided a year would have only 355 days. It didn’t take many years before holidays had lost all connection with “real time.” Harvest festivals, for instance, might be celebrated even before the crops had been planted. So Caesar decided to put his absolute power to practical use.
Relying on the best information available, he declared that each year would now be 365 days in length and would begin on January 1. Caesar humbly named his invention after himself: The Julian Calendar. He also decreed that the year we now call 46 B.C. would be “the last year of confusion.” To get things back on track with astronomical time, however, he had to do a bit of fudging. 46 B.C. would need to be 455 days long. Caesar chose to add the 90 “extra days” between November 30 and December 1.
Can you imagine what it would be like to receive the gift of three extra months? How would you use the time? Would you travel? Clean closets? Get your stamp collection up to date? Do all the things you’ve been saying you’ll do as soon as things “settle down”?
But this is not 46 B.C. We’re not going to receive that kind of gift. Instead, we’re going to receive 366 gifts (it’s Leap Year, after all), each of them wrapped in a 24-hour bundle. And we will receive them one day at a time.
In the middle of His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 6:25-34), Jesus reminds us to let go of yesterday. And not to get wrapped up in worries about tomorrow. He essentially says, “Don’t fantasize about getting some extra days. Make good use of this one.”
On the flip side, the apostle Paul invites us to “Make the most of our time, because the days are evil.“ This speak to the urgency of sharing our faith with others who might otherwise miss the chance to have a relationship with God. As we consider the Vision of our church, let’s do Col 4:5, “Make the most of our opportunities.” Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days.”
-Rev Dr William Lewis