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MMXII (2012) Welcome!

MMXII

We usher in MMXII … 2012 is a leap year starting today in the Gregorian calendar, and it is already the current year in Kiritimati (Kiribati), Samoa, Tokelau and Chatham Islands. It is 2012AD (Anno Domini – the year of our Lord) designation; the 12th year of the 3rd millennium and of the 21st century; and the 3rd of the 2010s decade.

The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, in particular recognizing their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. It has also been designated as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.

It has also been designated Alan Turing Year, commemorating the mathematician, computer pioneer, and code-breaker on the centennial of Turing’s birth.

There are a variety of popular beliefs about the year 2012. These beliefs range from the spiritually transformative to the apocalyptic, and center upon various interpretations of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. Contemporary scientists have disputed the apocalyptic versions. So do I.

Predicted and scheduled events

January

  • January 13 – January 22 – The first Winter Youth Olympics will be held in Innsbruck, Austria.
  • January 31 – 433 Eros, the second-largest Near Earth Object on record (size 13 km × 13 km × 33 km) will pass Earth at 0.1790 astronomical units (26,780,000 km; 16,640,000 mi). NASA studied Eros with the NEAR Shoemaker probe launched on February 17, 1996.

February

  • February 6 – Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, marking the 60th anniversary of her accession to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia & New Zealand, and the 60th anniversary of her becoming Head of the Commonwealth.

April

  • April 6 – April 9 – Easter. Celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Good News for all!
  • April 9 – My birthday 😉

May

  • May 12 – August 12 – The 2012 World Expo is to be held in Yeosu, South Korea.
  • May 20 – Annular solar eclipse. Path of annularity runs through the Pacific Ocean from northern China to California.

June

  • June 6 – The second and last solar transit of Venus of the century. The next pair is predicted to occur in 2117 and 2125.
  • June 18 – June 23 – Turing Centenary Conference at the University of Cambridge, in honor of the mathematician, computer scientist, and cryptographer Alan Turing, the last day of the conference being the hundredth anniversary of his birth.

July

  • July 27 – Opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics begins in London at 19:30 GMT.London will become the first city in history to host the Summer Olympic Games three times.

August

  • August 6 – August 20 – Mars Science Laboratory also known as the Curiosity rover is scheduled to land on Mars.
  • August 12 – Closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

November

  • November 13 – Total solar eclipse (visible in Northern Australia and the South Pacific).

December

  • December 21 – The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, notably used by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization among others, completes a “great cycle” of thirteen b’ak’tuns (periods of 144,000 days each) since the mythical creation date of the calendar’s current era.
  • December 25 – Christmas! Celebration of Jesus’ birth.
  • December 31 – The first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol ends.

Date unknown

  • China will launch the Kuafu spacecraft.
  • 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be the next major Congress of the Communist Party of China.
  • Pleiades, a proposed supercomputer built by Intel and SGI for NASA’s Ames Research Center, will be completed, reaching a peak performance of 10 Petaflops (10 quadrillion floating point operations per second).
  • Sequoia, a proposed super computer built by IBM for the National Nuclear Security Administration will be completed, reaching a peak performance of 20 Petaflops.
  • On the Sun, the solar maximum of Solar Cycle 24 in the 11-year sunspot cycle is forecast to occur. Solar Cycle 24 is regarded to have commenced January 2008, and on average will reach its peak of maximal sunspot activity around 2012. The period between successive solar maxima averages 11 years (the Schwabe cycle), and the previous solar maximum of Solar Cycle 23 occurred in 2000–2002. During the solar maximum the Sun’s magnetic poles will reverse.

So what does it mean to you and me?

Well, we could listen to all the doom and gloom predicted for 2012 – from global financial meltdown imminent in Europe leading to global recession/depression to an apocalyptic end of the world – and consequently worry ourselves to death. Honestly, worrying about a whole lot of stuff that may or may not happen will only give you ulcers or a heart attack!

Here is my two-bobs worth: we could choose to make a difference in our spheres of influence instead.

So how could we do that?

Let’s take the Global Financial Crisis as a good example. It is a clear warning to be prudent, understand the money crisis we all faceunderstand what wealth actually is and apply the 3 steps to Debt Elimination. That is definitely in your sphere of influence.  Buying more ‘stuff’? Ask yourself if you really, really need it and if you think you do, then ask, “Will this put me in more debt?” Hey, life is full of choices… we must be wise in those choices.

Oh, and could there be an apocalyptic end to the Earth? No, I don’t think so. She is groaning for sure, but it won’t come to an end unless the Lord says so. What He does say is this:

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”   Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.  You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are the beginning of birth pains.
…  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Matthew 24:3-8,14 (emphasis mine)

We have a lot of work ahead of us to see this “this gospel of the kingdom preached in the whole world“. And yes, you can do something about that too!  Spread the Good News, support your local church’s evangelism/mission initiatives or movements like Empart (whose primary goal is to plant 100,000 churches in Asia by 2030) through prayer and by giving generously. Both are equally needed!

And every year I hear this asked: can we tell when the Lord will return? No.

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.  For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;  and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
Matthew 24:35-39

Remember, this is 2012 AD – the year of our Lord! And all I truly can say is:

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:57-58