The End Of The World As We Know It

Yesterday, December 21st, was the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year, in terms of daylight. Which means that from now until the Summer Solstice, the days will be getting longer, and that’s a good thing! Yesterday also marked one year out until the Mayan prediction that the world will end on the Winter Solstice of 2012. No doubt we can look forward to many doomsday movements and predictions in the year to come. Mayan ruins are quickly becoming a tourist destination for next year and Mexico’s tourism agency is already selling the hype.

But some Mayan researchers are now insisting that the prophecy has been misunderstood. Instead of the world ending, they say that the Mayans actually recorded that date as being the end of an era, and that 2012 and beyond should be seen as a time of renewal, not destruction. “The world will not end. It is an era. For us, it is a message of hope,” says Yeanet Zaldo.

That word renewal caught my attention, as I had just run across that same idea earlier in the day. In an article I was reading, the author mentioned that the word translated as “new” in the Bible, is often actually the word “renew.” It has been this mistranslation of Scripture that has led to the belief that God will create a new heaven and a new earth.  In other words, if God is going to create a new earth, then this current earth doesn’t matter much.

But if that word actually denotes renewal, then that changes things.  The world won’t end in apocalyptic destruction.  On the contrary, it will be renewed!

In fact, when you read the New Testament, it is evident that God is currently in the midst of renewing all creation. We can’t always see it clearly, and there are plenty of examples that would seem to support the opposite view, but it is happening.  And God has granted us the privilege of being partners in this renewal.

So if the Mayan predictions are correct – that 2012 marks some end of an era and the beginning of a time of renewal – maybe they aren’t that far off from what Scripture is saying as well. So here is to hoping that 2012 is a time of renewal!  After all, that is what God has been up to for quite some time now.

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Tis the Season

Each year at Christmas time, I go through my annual scrum between the festivities of the season and the longing for something deeper, more meaningful at Christmas.  I know I am not the only one that feels this annual tension of the holidays, yet sometimes it feels that way.  Some of these tensions for me include:

  • The hustle & bustle of mall shopping versus times of peaceful solitude
  • Buying presents for everyone on my list versus a longing for more simplicity in my life
  • Going to holiday parties versus a deeper engagement in the season of Advent
  • Big, slick Christmas productions versus an alternative to the over-marketed season

So, once again, I find myself anticipating all that the holiday season brings, yet wanting a retreat from all the activity. I recently pulled out a prayer book that walks through the Advent season to try to answer some of that longing for balance and perspective, and to counter some of the frenzy of the holidays.

So what about you? Are there any tensions you feel during the Christmas season? What are they?

Or is it just me? Tis the season…