Yesterday was not only our first “snow day” this winter with no school in much of Minnesota, but also “Leap Day,” February 29th. It felt like a gift from the Lord suspended in time! The 8 inches of fresh snow we received in Elk River was perfect for packing, making a snowman or having a snow-ball fight. It was also what we affectionately call “heart-attack snow,” back-breakingly heavy to shovel!
A quick trip to Wikipedia reveals that Leap Day is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. It also occurs in years that are evenly divisible by 100, but not by 400; therefore 1900 did not contain a Leap Day while 2000 did! Got it?
Although most years have 365 days, scientists know that it actually takes the Earth a total of 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes and 16 seconds to make one complete revolution around the sun. As a result, every four years approximately one extra day’s worth of time accumulates, requiring a Leap Day to keep the calendar coordinated with the sun’s position. Still got it?
February 29th is that extra day… Leap Day! While many children and youth were “jumping for joy” yesterday at the prospect of fresh snow and no school, several stories from the Bible leaped out at me!
In Daniel 3:24, it says, “Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, ‘Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?’” Do you remember why King Neb was so surprised? As he looked into the fiery furnace, he not only saw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego standing there unharmed, but there was a fourth man, whom he called a “son of the gods.” We know who it was!
In Luke 1:41, when young Mary arrived to visit her relative, Elizabeth, “the baby (who one day would be called John the Baptist) leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” She prophesied, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child that you will bear!”
And in Acts, chapter 3, we read how Peter and John encountered a man near the temple in Jerusalem who had been crippled from birth. He asked for money but they gave him a much greater gift. Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Peter took him by the hand. The man jumped to his feet and began to walk. But it gets better. The scripture says, “Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.” And the people were filled with wonder and amazement!
Friends, when you come into the presence of Jesus Christ, there is reason to leap for joy… whether you are a king, an unborn child, or someone desperate and discouraged by the challenges of life. When Jesus is your Savior, every day is Leap Day! Every day is a day to walk and jump and praise the Lord!
What are you praising God for today? Let people see the joy in your life. Share God’s story and your story so that those around you might be filled with wonder and amazement. Sometimes it takes a “snow day” or even a “Leap Day” to remind us to praise and celebrate the amazing God we serve!