by Dave Hintz
The origin of April Fool's Day derived from a dispute about the calendar. Ancient cultures, including those as varied as the Romans and Hindus, celebrated New Year's Day on April 1 as it closely follows the vernal equinox (March 20th or March 21st).
In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII ordered a new calendar, (the Gregorian Calendar), to replace the old Julian Calendar. The new calendar changed the order of the months and called for New Year's Day to be celebrated January 1. This change was met with some French resistance as many people either refused to accept the new date, or did not learn about it, and continued to celebrate New Year's Day on April 1.
In 1582, popular culture deemed those who did not shift their worldview with the cultural mandates as fools. The powers that be reestablished the calendar and ridiculed those who resisted. In today’s “free thinking culture” where the popular consensus views Christians as backwoods reactionary fundamentalists who seek to stamp out tolerance for fear of change, Christian have been labeled as fools. Our standard of morality does not conform to present virtues of society. Our belief in a resurrected Christ defies science. Our unswerving commitment to take God’s written Word literally makes us the laughing stock of this relativistic world.
We should not be surprised at this reaction as Paul pens in 1 Corinthians 1:18 “For the word of the cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” The fact that the world views our message as foolishness confirms the veracity of this statement. The brilliant minds and the keen thinkers of the world grapple to unlock the origin of the universe, yet they fall miserably short as God’s truth has been hidden from them. No matter how close they come to figuring out how the universe was created, they will never know why. In His wisdom, God has purposefully decided to use the banal things of the world. In 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 we read “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God.” The Lord allows the wise and the mighty to grope hopelessly for the truth they claim to pursue. All the while He permits the simple folk to understand the depths of His glorious being and proclaim His extraordinary message. All of this is done so that people might not redirect the glory which belongs to God, to themselves and their “impressive” abilities. As Christians, the understanding that God uses the simple things of the world to shame the wise, should humble us as we realize that we have nothing to offer in and of ourselves. On the other hand, we should have great courage in proclaiming our faith in know that the message of the cross renders the most persuasive, anti-god rhetoric in the World as foolishness.