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Counting

by Linda Wasilkoff
Photo by luis arias on Unsplash
 

“One, two, three, four . . . . Here I come ready or not!” Most of us have played the childhood game of Hide and Seek and are familiar with the routine of counting to a prescribed number to give the others time to hide.

Did you ever notice how much children love to count? They love to show off their skills to any receptive adult. And, of course, we give them the praise they deserve for their accomplishment. I have vivid memories of my mother driving me to school one morning. I counted to 100 by ones, fives and tens. It must have been driving her crazy, but she patiently listened. What I remember most about that time was the joy of knowing how to count.

As we age, counting continues to be important to us. Many games include a counting element. An expectant mother counts the weeks until her child is due to be born. When an individual dies, we count his/her years of life. In between, we count the number of years left until our schooling is done, the number of wedding anniversaries we have, the number of children we have and the number of years until retirement.

This is the time of year when we, as Christians, count—count fifty to be exact. The Holy Day calendar is carefully calculated by using a special formula. It can be complicated. I well remember learning those calculations in one Bible class at Ambassador College. It was intriguing to know that with the formula, you could calculate the precise date each Holy Day would fall on in any year–as long as you remembered to carefully check each of the potential “exceptions” to the rules.

Thankfully, calculating the day of Pentecost is relatively simple. You just count fifty days from the day after the weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Most six-year-olds can do it.

Recently, I was wondering how the early disciples felt as they waited for the promised “Comforter” to come to them. They had gone through the traumatic death, burial and resurrection of Christ; then they were told to wait. Were they anxiously counting to fifty as they all waited in Jerusalem? Did the days fly by or drag slowly? Did they carefully mark off their “calendars” while waiting for the next Holy Day?

It is relatively easy for us. We have repeatedly read the New Testament and know what happened on the Day of Pentecost. We have our Holy Day calendars with all the days carefully provided for us. But can you imagine the children of old counting the number of “sleeps” until the big event? Of course, they didn’t really know what to expect. After all, they had yet to read chapter two from the book of Acts!

We are on the countdown to the next annual festival. Happy counting!

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