December 25, 2013 § Leave a comment
Around 523, a monk named Dionysius Exiguus was commissioned by the papal chancellor Bonifatius to come up with a way to simplify important dates that resulted from the Church Council of Nicea. Until this time most people counted the calendar years from the reign of the Roman emperor Diocletian. Dionysius wanted to honor Christ instead of a human ruler, so he reset the calendar to count the years since the birth of Christ. Turns out he was off by 7 years in his calculations—Jesus was born probably around 7 BC before the death of Herod the Great (Matt. 2:19-20)—but the aim was to begin calendar year 1 with the first Christmas.
With the help of the English monk Bede in the century that followed, the new calendar counting method popularized by the Church finally stuck, and it became the new standard for the current Gregorian calendar now followed by most of the world. The birth of Jesus marked year 1, and time as we know it was reset.
Think about this time-altering event that we celebrate in particular at Christmas but acknowledge by the millions of elements in our lives that rely upon the current date. When Jesus was born, time was reset. God becoming flesh to dwell among us, to live and die in our presence and in our place, was the reset in God’s redemption plan for His lost creation. The covenant was renewed, grace was restarted, and we are redeemed by the reset of our hearts to follow Jesus.
Apparently the calendar needed a reset around Jesus Christ, signaling the fact that we do too. Merry Christmas, and may the Savior and giver of life and new beginnings mean even more to you in AD 2014.