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First Sunday of Advent - 2 December 2018 (YEAR C)

Toward the end of 1999 people were gearing up to welcome in the new millennium. Some Christians who take the scriptures literally joined in the fun and declared that the end of the world was nigh and that Christ would return on his twothousandth birthday. They seem to subscribe to the old adage that, ‘one should never let the facts get in the way of a good story’! Christianity took over the Roman calendar in what we now call the 4th Century of the Christian era. At Rome in 526, a scholarly monk named Dionysius Exiguus compiled a list of the dates of Jesus' birth, death and resurrection. He assigned dates in the new Christian calendar for each of these events. Given the tools at his disposal, he did an extraordinary job. We know, however, from other historical sources and from the New Testament, where it mentions who the various Jewish and Roman rulers were in Palestine, that Dionysius was four years out with his dating. The church became aware of this mistake in 1582, but to correct it the world would have lost four years! So we have all lived with it ever since.

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