Monday, February 29, 2016

Leap Day Lesson

Today is Feburary 29, 2016 or "Leap Day".  The reason for Leap Day is to correct our current 365-day Gregorian calander for the actual 365.25-day solar year.  To synconize the Gregorian and solar calendars, an extra day is added every 4 years at the end of February except for when the year is both divisible by 100 and not a multiple of 400.  (this removes 3 Leap Days per 400 years). 

2016 is also a Leap Year according to the Jewish Calendar.  Jewish months begin when the sliver of the new moon is visible.  Because the moon rotates around the Earth every 29.5 days, the 12 Jewish months are either 29 or 30 days.  However, if you add up 12 lunar months, it comes up about 11 days short of the solar calendar. So, the Jewish Calendar adds a occasional 13th month (Adar I) every 2-4 years to synchronize their lunar calendar with the seasons.  Without this correction, Jewish holidays like Passover which is to be observed in the spring would process from year-to-year from spring to winter, fall, summer and back to spring again.

I have often thought, if God placed the moon, earth, and sun in their positions in the heavens, why didn't He cause their orbits to be more synchronized?  And considering the desynchronous reality of their orbits, why would God command Israel to observe a lunar calendar at all?  The reason I believe is precisely because the lunar and solar months do not line up easily.  

The whole purpose of the Law of Moses is to remind Israel of their sinful nature and point them towards their need for continual repentance as well as their need for a Savior and Redeemer.  Like the lunar month, we are all out of synchronicity with God and require continual correction. (Alma 30:44)   I hope Leap Day can serve as another reminder to recommit ourselves everyday to repent and resynchronize our lives with the will of God which is only made possible by the grace and power of the  atonement of Jesus Christ.

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