In the days leading up to Christmas, family members focused on shopping for gifts, asking those on their list what they’d like most. Some insisted, “You don’t have to buy me anything.” Others said, “It doesn’t matter; just don’t spend too much.” Teens had long lists ready, and children changed their answers day-to-day.
When we asked 3 year old Skylar what she wanted most, her answer was always the same: “A calendar.”
“A calendar? Really?”
We asked again and again, but she stuck with her answer.
So I bought her what she asked for, a wall calendar with doggie pictures on each month. When she opened it Christmas morning, she studied the cover, turned it over and checked out the 12 different doggie pictures, then tossed it aside.
I couldn’t help but say, “Skylar, are you glad you got a calendar?”
“Sure, Grandma Midgee!” she said, reaching for a new gift.
Of course her calendar gift was more for grown-up laughs than childhood pleasure. All of us know Skylar has no concept of what a calendar is all about. The passing of time agitates adults week-to-week and day-to-day but is a non-factor with children. For example, if Skylar is asked, “When is your birthday?” she answers, “Um… I think it’s today!” We giggle at her lack of calendar savvy and remind her it’s not for 7 more months. But eventually her life will be dominated by a calendar just like the rest of us. For now, though, it’s lucky for Skylar.
Recently our family round-tabled the tabloid prediction that the world will come to an end on 12/12/12, about a year from now. Very few people will line up behind that idea, and Bible-believers understand that only God knows the exact date that time will end and calendars will become unnecessary.
But what does God think of our current obsession with charting our lives according to calendar dates? Is he laughing at us the same way we laughed at Skylar? He might be thinking, “You have the emphasis in all the wrong places.”
Maybe he wants us to believe there’s only one truly important date, the one on which time ends for each of us, whether by death or his return. Despite not being able to circle that date on a calendar, the rest of our lives would be aligned “decently and in order” if we focused on the knowledge that time will, indeed, end.
In 2012 I’ve decided to focus less intently on my wall calendar and more specifically on God’s over-arching purposes for the upcoming year. Skylar has been a good example for me: January 1st is almost here, but her doggie calendar is still in its cellophane sleeve.
“With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised. I pondered the direction of my life, and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.” (Psalm 119:58-60)