That picture postcard “white Christmas” that has been so romanticized has been eluding us these past few years, fallen victim it would seem to climate change. There hasn’t been any real accumulation of snow so far this season.
Normally by the end of November we would have some amount of snow on the sidewalks, but the delicate balance of nature is being recalibrated. Climatologists have been taking note of climate change for the better part of two decades. Even those living in the artificial environment of cities where more than half the world’s population now reside can see that something is happening. Talk to anyone whose childhood was spent in this city and they will reminisce about snow piles that would reach shoulder height. That’s not happening these days.
What is happening, seemingly more often, are horrendous “acts of God” that leave human devastation in their wake. Whether it was October’s Hurricane Sandy that hit the Caribbean and tore up parts of the U.S. east coast or Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, or that 2004 record-setting 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that hit Indonesia and spread as far as Africa and Alaska, or the one that hit northern Japan in March last year, we are witnessing tremendous natural upheavals.
Some see this as Mother Earth and the universe’s way of telling mankind that we have to change our terrible ways.
Fitting neatly into this angst, many are now waiting for the end-of-time as it lines up with the ancient Mayan calendar, the now much anticipated “12-21-12” – December 21 of this year – also known as the Winter Solstice. Come Friday, according to some interpretations of the Mayan records, the entire world will become transformed by any number of cataclysmic scenarios.
If you’re reading this and it’s Friday or Saturday, then it’s safe to say we’ve made it past this latest fear-fest.
The last big end-time date was supposed to have been May 21, 2011, as predicted by Christian radio host Harold Camping. Once 5-21-11 had come and gone, the world still intact, Camping allowed that he must have miscalculated and pointed to October 21. Something about the number 21, apparently. He finally admitted he didn’t have a direct pipeline to God regarding mankind’s final day.
Practically every year a doomsday warning is broadcast. While some view such predictions as silly, others take them seriously, in part because there is a deep desire to see the world cleared of mankind’s misdeeds.
Many religious orders have leaned heavily on the fantastic descriptions as they are recorded in the final book of The Bible, Revelations. Written millennia ago, the waywardness of mankind continues to resonate, and in each century there is anticipation that we must finally pay for our sins.
These days, arguably our great sin is the harm we are doing to our only home, planet Earth. Everyone of thinking age recognizes that we are using up the Earth willfully and in a manner that logically will lead to dire straits. Some scientists conclude that we have already reached the tipping point, so one wonders when our survival instincts will finally kick in.
But this latest end-time deadline has its own particular hysteria attached to it because it presents at a time when there is an amassing of worries. There is widespread tension as the world economy struggles to find balance; there is a growing sense of social injustice as we have seen with the identification of the “99 per cent” and the rich “one per cent” that has the rest of us at a disadvantage. Then while the world looks on, overwhelmed by the terrible bloodshed that occurred in Connecticut last week, in central China, a man with a knife wounded 22 children at an elementary school, reportedly in reaction to this latest end-time prediction.
So did you stock up on candles, canned food and batteries in anticipation of this doomsday prediction? Or are you relying on faith in a Heavenly Father?
There are other doomsday predictions to come. There’s one set for 2043.
A note on the health of a great leader…
South Africa’s great leader Nelson Mandela has been hospitalized for a number of days and while that nation and many beyond pray for his recovery, South Africans must surely be contemplating a day without one of contemporary history’s most inspiring human beings.