Just one month ago on this date many of you may have watched on TV as the ball dropped in Times Square in New York City, as tens of thousands in the streets wearing 2016 glasses and other paraphernalia celebrated the beginning of a new year. But I wonder how many of them actually knew what date they were really observing?
For sure, most of them knew that 2016 wasn’t the number of years since the creation of the earth, nor the beginning of civilization. So it must be tied to something else! Some may have even be able to tell you that it is 2016 AD, and there may be others who might not know what “AD” means. So how does that date compare with other cultures who may celebrate the beginning of a new year?
Do they know that the Jewish New Year of 5775 will begin on October 2 and end on October 4th. Did they realize that the Chinese celebrate the new year of 4714 on February 8th, and name each lunar year in a repeating 12 year span is named after a different animal? The Buddhists celebrate their New Year of 2559 for three days on April 13-15. And for Muslims in Saudi Arabia, they celebrate their New Year of 1394 in October, while in Iran it is observed in March.
So what period of time are they celebrating that began 2016 years ago. It is the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea. So if someone were to ask you what year it is, you can properly tell them: “It’s been 2016 years since my Lord and Savior Jesus the Messiah was born.” That’s why it is called “Anno Domini,” which means, “The year of our Lord.”
What is so remarkable is that most every nation around the world now marks their calendars from that date, whether they are Christian or not. But there is other news, regardless of what the religious persuasion of any person or culture may be, they will all, without exception mark the same moment when our Lord returns to gather His followers so they can be with Him for eternity, but only the believers will celebrate that day!