Last Wednesday was leap day. Leap day comes every four years, except for century years not divisible by 400, and was originally added to the calendar by Julius Caesar because the lunar year is actually longer than 364 days.
Leap day is a make up day to keep our accounting of time aligned with God’s (Genesis 1:14-19, although I’d bet Caesar would never admit that). The most recent change to the calendar came in the 1500s so that Easter will always come at the right time of year in relation to Passover, which is defined by the lunar cycle and the vernal equinox (again, God’s timing).
While I’m not sure why it became known as “leap year,” as there’s no celebrative jumping up and down to my knowledge and you could bet that salaried workers don’t jump up and down for joy when they have to work an extra day in February for no more pay. We do have several things that should cause us to leap for joy, though.
First, even though sometimes things appear bleak, God has always provided for our needs in due time. Consequently, our hearts can leap for joy that rain will eventually come (Job 36:22 to 37:1). The other worries of our lives also will be taken away and the haunts of those jackals will be displaced by grass where the deer will leap for joy (Matthew 6:25-34; Isaiah 35:3-7).
Second, and more importantly, we can leap for joy over Jesus. John the Baptist did that while still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:39-44, a demonstration that pre-born children are somewhat cognizant of the outside world as also shown by their response to music while still in the womb and the effect that can have on their lives).
Jesus is the great physician who not only heals physical sickness, he’s also the only source of spiritual healing (Matthew 9:12, 13, 18-26). In any case, his healing can cause one to leap for joy and do other expressions of praise (Acts 3:1-11; Psalm 28:7). King David also leaped in praise and joy when he knew he was in God’s presence, although others thought it inappropriate (2 Samuel 6:16-21).
One of these days, all Christians will leap for joy in God’s presence. Because we know that, we can rejoice now in times of trouble, even in the face of persecution (Luke 6:17-23; James 1:2-4; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Romans 8:28; Philippians 1:3-6).
All people will leap from this life into eternity, either in God’s presence or in total separation from God. We only have the time we live on earth, including leap days, to please God through joyful living. We can do that only through Jesus (John 10:10). When this life is over there’ll be no make up days and we’ll stand before God with our eternal fate set (Hebrews 9:27, 28).
Keep in mind also that this Saturday night (or early Sunday morning), we’ll practice some real lunacy and spring our clocks forward to give up some time.