In just over three weeks, "it" will happen: The day we've been hearing about, talking about, and in some cases, worrying about - Dec. 21, 2012.
In case you've been living in a cave, that's the day that many people claim the ancient Mayan calendar ends. Some believe that a cataclysmic event will occur on that date, perhaps even the end of the world as we know it.
So is there any truth to the Dec. 21 Doomsday prophecies? Will the world end, or at least undergo extreme changes on that day? Mayan historians and NASA scientists have been working overtime to debunk these predictions. Those who claim faith in Christ and look to the Bible for guidance should have no problem dismissing the 12/21/12 predictions, either. Jesus said, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven." (Matthew 24:36) The Mayans didn't know when the world will end, and apart from God, no one else does, either. Prophecies and predictions like the 12/21/12 phenomenon are nothing more than hype and hoax.
But this current end-time buzz does bring up an important point: We do indeed need to be ready. We need to be ready at all times for the end to come, because it could come at any time. In the same chapter of the Bible in which Jesus states that no one but God knows when the end will come, he also gives a lengthy list of signs that will occur prior to the Last Day. These signs - which include things like natural disasters, wars, persecution and the spread of the gospel - have been occurring over and over again for centuries. The point being, Jesus could come again at any time. But even if the last day doesn't occur for another 10,000 years, the fact remains that all of us will experience our own personal last day long before then, for we will all face our creator on the day he calls us from this world in death.
So the warning we're hearing about needing to be prepared for the end is a valid one. That raises the million dollar question: What exactly are we supposed to do to be ready? Stockpiling food and water won't make you ready. Neither will purchasing generators and ammunition. The fact is, there is only one thing that will make you ready to face your maker: faith in him as your savior. Faith in Christ, and only faith in Christ, makes us ready to leave this world and enter a new, perfect, endless world. In a sense, then, we don't have to do anything to be ready; all we need to do is trust that our savior has already prepared everything we need.
Dec. 21 will undoubtedly come and go. Websites will be taken down quickly. Some people will be embarrassed, others relieved. But don't count on Doomsday predictions to stop on Dec. 22. Exactly 13 years ago, I wrote a very similar column regarding another predicted cataclysmic event, the one that was supposed to occur when the calendars changed from 1999 to 2000. Remember the Y2K hype? Predictions of the end will come and go. But the need to be prepared for the end remains. Be faithful. Be ready. And be confident in the day.
- Brent Merten is pastor of Mountain Valley Lutheran Church, 802 Brush Creek Terrace, Eagle.