Nothing’s New in The New Year

By Jim Berlin

I don’t want to rain on your party hat, but there really is no “new” in this New Year’s Day we all celebrate.

Clocks and calendars are simply our way of keeping score, man-made inventions that allow us to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries and give some context to Columbus sailing the ocean blue. We separate our existence into universally-accepted components to give order to our lives…to make sense of the milestones in our struggle to thrive and survive.

Humans can exist without clocks and calendars, of course, and they have. When the pilgrims arrived, Native-Americans were running things by the seasons and length of days. They got along just fine, but you don’t build a great society on phrases like “Many moons ago.”

The necessary marriage between progress and formally marking time became clear at least 7,000 years back. Ancient Greeks and Egyptians accomplished it with sundials and devices that transferred water between receptacles at a constant rate.

It was a beginning, but marking time didn’t really get serious until 700 B.C. when Romulus, founder of Rome, produced – appropriately enough – the Roman calendar. Julius Caesar improved upon it, and the Gregorian calendar

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some 16 centuries later perfected it.

But the Earth, with its annual trip around the sun, acts no differently on January 1st. It just keeps doing what it’s been doing for billions of years, adding on the miles with no pause for celebration.

Time belongs to God. Clocks and calendars are stuff his kids invented to give rhythm and cadence as we march through it, year after year, century after century.

But, hey! Happy New Year!

 

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