Brought to you by the clever inventors of leap year.
My dad missed it by one day – his birthday was March 1st.
If I had been born on February 29th, this year I'd be celebrating my Sweet Sixteen birthday!
(Hmmm, I like the sound of that better than 62…ahem).
I got to thinking about leap years, so I looked up some information.
Here's the facts:
1. A leap year is also known as an intercalary year or a bissextile year.
2. The extra day keeps the calendar year synchronized with the astronomical or seasonal year, and aligned with the Earth's revolutions around the Sun.
3. Seasons and astronomical events do not repeat in a whole number of days. Therefore, calendars that have the same number of days in each year drift over time with respect to the event that the year is supposed to track. Inserting the extra day corrects the drift.
4. A year that is not a leap year is called a common year.
5. The name "leap year" comes from the fact that while a fixed date in the Gregorian calendar normally advances one day of the week from one year to the next, the day of the week in a leap year will advance two days (from March onwards) due to the extra day added at the end of February (thus "leaping over" one of the days in the week).
6. Gregorian calendars were first used in 1582. They are a modification of the Julian calendar first used by the Romans.
7. There is also something known as a leap cycle. Over a period of 4 centuries, the accumulated error of adding a leap day every 4 years amounts to about 3 extra days. The Gregorian calendar therefore removes three leap days every 400 years, which is the length of its leap cycle.
8. You can tell if it's a leap year by what day of the week the year starts and ends on. January 1st and December 31st always fall on the same day of the week. In leap years, December 31st will fall on the following day of the week!
9. In Ireland and Britain, it is a tradition that women may propose marriage only in leap years. In Greece, marriage in a leap year is considered unlucky.
10. A person born on February 29 may be called a "leapling" or a "leaper."
11. There can be drawbacks to being born on February 29th. There are an estimated five million people with Feb. 29 birthdays, and they once had to face a number of day-to-day administrative hassles. Insurance companies, banks and other major organizations often didn't recognize leap day as a valid date, forcing people to choose either Feb. 28 or March 1 as their birthday. Evolving technology has made this less of an issue, but some websites still won't accept Feb. 29.
12. In Gilbert and Sullivan's 1879 comic opera "The Pirates of Penzance," Frederic the pirate apprentice discovers that he is bound to serve the pirates until his 21st birthday (that is, when he turns 84 years old), rather than until his 21st year.
13. Leap years in history: During leap years, George Armstrong Custer fought the Battle of the Little Bighorn (1876), the Titanic sank (1912), Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is electricity (1752) and gold was discovered in California (1848).
14. Famous people born on February 29th: Dinah Shore, Tony Robbins, Jimmy Dorsey, Dennis Farina, Lord Byron, and a bunch of other people that can't be that famous because I didn't know who they were!!
So in some ways, today is an *extra* day!
And that's got me thinking about time.
Did you know that time is bendable?
According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, there is a phenomenon called time dilation – basically a difference of elapsed time between two events as measured by observers.
(For instance, clocks on the Space Shuttle ran slightly slower than reference clocks on Earth, while clocks on GPS and Galileo satellites run slightly faster…The laws of nature are such that time itself (i.e. spacetime) will bend due to differences in either gravity or velocity – each of which affects time in different ways.)
I don't begin to understand any of this – even though I am a huge fan of the "Back to the Future" movies!!
("…the encounter could create a time paradox. The results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe!...Granted, that's the worst-case scenario. The destruction however might be limited merely to our own galaxy."
– Emmett "Doc" Brown)
No, I am not a physicist, but I do know this.
Time is not static – especially as we experience it.
I have found that time moves at a different pace when I'm waiting for something. If it's something good (tax refund check), time moves slowly. But if it's something I'm dreading (root canal), it goes way too fast. Of course, if I'm waiting to find out if something is good or bad (test results), time moves slowly again.
OK, if you've stuck with me so far – (and I'm sorry that today's post is rambling all over the place) – it's *time* to get practical.
We are finite beings – with a pre-determined amount of years allotted to us.
God sets our earthly time, our life clock, before we are even born – and He alone knows when that time will tick down to a stop.
And even if we live to be 100 years old, the time will still pass quickly.
So, what are we doing with the time given to us?
Our lives are a gift from God.
And in some ways, what we do with them is our gift to Him.
Are we pursuing His wisdom, His ways, His Word?
Are we spreading His Good News?
Are we making inroads for the Kingdom?
Are we storing up heavenly treasure?
Are we seeking His face, and spending time in relationship with Him?
Are we serving others well?
In other words, are we spending the time wisely?
I don't know how long my life will last. But I want it to be well spent. I am less concerned with quality of life than living a life of quality.
I want my years here to count for something – more accurately, I want them to count for Someone.
So, I'm taking this *extra* day and pondering how I might make better use of my time as I serve the Lord.
Time is passing.
Time is short.
And it's TIME – to get busy living, making the best use of our days, wisely following the Lord as He leads us moment-by-moment.
For He is coming…
"Time is what we want most,
but what we use worst."
-- William Penn
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
(Psalm 39:4-7, NLT)
"Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him…" (Psalm 103:13-17, NASB)
"He remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passes and comes not again." (Psalm 78:39, ESV)
"For the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being." (Job 12:10, NLT)
"For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life." (Job 33:4, NLT)
"…He is not far from each one of us. for in Him we live and move and exist [that is, in Him we actually have our being]…" (Acts 17:27-28, AMP)
"Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them!" (Psalm 139:16-17, NIV)
"Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You [in Your control], and You have made his limits so he cannot pass [his allotted time]." (Job 14:5, AMP)
"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it's here a little while, then it's gone." (James 4:14, NLT)
"But I am trusting you, O LORD, saying, 'You are my God!' My future is in your hands." (Psalm 31:14-15, NLT)
"So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless." (1 Corinthians 15:58, NLT)
"Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone…" (Galatians 6:8-10, NLT)
"'Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End…'" (Revelation 22:12-13, NIV)
"He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming soon.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20, NIV)
How are you using your precious gift of time?
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