In 1999, wife Lean and I were on the way to the Baptist World Alliance meeting in Melbourne, Australia. We had overcome the Y2K millennium fears to board the plane and head south by southwest. We had a stopover in New Zealand to visit with Baptists in that island country.
By Lynn P. Clayton
In 1999, wife Lean and I were on the way to the
Baptist World Alliance meeting in Melbourne, Australia. We had overcome
the Y2K millennium fears to board the plane and head south by
southwest. We had a stopover in New Zealand to visit with Baptists in
that island country.
We had a wonderful time touring various parts of New
Zealand, visiting with Baptist leaders and attending a Baptist church’s
worship. We were actually so busy that we forgot that the millennium
sunrise was only a night away.
It dawned upon us that New Zealand would be the
first nation of size to view the millennium sunrise – the name given to
the first sunrise of the new millennium – and we were on the east shore
of the island to see it, first of the first. Some folks had predicted
there would be no millennium sunrise because the earth would be
destroyed at 12:01 a.m., Jan. 1, 2000, so we wanted to prove them
wrong. And, it was just a romantic idea – being the first to see this
We arose before sunrise and walked across the street
from our hotel to a park where hundreds of folks – some from far away,
others from a short walk away – gathered to view this once in a
lifetime event. Folks explained to us that as soon as the sun rose,
military guns would hail the arrival of the new millennium.
The last night of the old millennium begrudgingly
gave way to the light of the new millennium emanating from the ocean to
the east. Boats of all sizes dotted the water as their inhabitants
wanted a firsthand view.
Reality does not feel compelled to follow expectations.
As the sky began showing signs of light, we could
see that the sky was overcast. There was to be no brilliant,
multicolored sunrise heralding the arrival of 2000, just sort of a dull
gray gradual appearance of some light – not even a lot of light.
Still, we hung on. Perhaps there would be a sudden
breaking of the clouds. Perhaps then the colors of the sunrise would be
even more magnified.
It did not happen.
Actually, we could not tell exactly when the sun did
emerge from the ocean to light the sky. The sky just sort of got
lighter without a fanfare.
We waited. We did not want to admit such an
anticlimactic moment was something we could brag about seeing for the
rest of our lives.
Still, nothing happened.
We needed one or something to say, “Okay, this is all there is. You can go home or back to your rooms.”
The military must have sensed this need. At what
seemed like no appointed time, the ships and land cannons sounded their
thunder, as if to say, “This is it. There is no more.”
We walked back to our room, not sure if we had been part of something memorial or something forgettable.
So, how has the beginning of 2006 been for you? Memorable, or forgettable?
We discovered that the millennium sunrise meant
absolutely nothing about what was to come. The day turned out
beautifully in most ways. Over our first cup of coffee we got over our
disappointment with the sunrise. We discovered that the changing of the
millennium was just an arbitrary mark well-meaning folks had set. What
has happened in our lives since that morning standing in a park in New
Zealand has had absolutely nothing to do with what has happened since,
except to provide a few chuckles when we think about it. What has
happened since has depended upon what God has allowed us to make of it.
Remember, 2006 is not obligated to follow expectations, good or bad.
May you have a wonderful 2006, not because of
circumstances or arbitrary landmarks, but because in following God, you
make it a great year.