A lot can happen in a year with fifty-three Sundays. 1994 was the last time the year began and ended on the Lord’s day. The 363 days in between those two Sundays saw more than a few memorable events.
In January, a prosecutor delivered her opening remarks in a murder trial that the media would have ignored had not the defendant been an NFL hall-of-famer. Six months later, O.J. tried on a pair of ill-fitting gloves. Four months after that, Johnny Cochran intoned "if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit," and the jury did just that.
In February, the Dow Jones closed above 4,000 points for the first time. Bolstered by the initial public offerings of Netscape and other internet start-ups, the Dow would later smash the 5,000 point barrier. If you were invested at the time (I wasn’t), you have more than doubled your money in the decade since.
In 1995, a former solider turned hater blew up Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal building killing 168 innocent people, and Christopher Reeves fell off his horse and became the real superman of those disabled by spinal cord injuries.
Of course, my children are too young to remember any of that. Maybe these will connect. 1995 saw the DVD introduced to consumers, the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio and the ballyhooed rollout of Microsoft’s Windows ‘95. The DVD is bigger than ever, Cleveland is still rockin’ and rollin’, and Windows ‘95 is as obsolete as every other decade-old computer innovation. Calvin and Hobbs became extinct, too when their last new comic strip ran on December 31, 1995.
Some famous voices were silenced that year. Burl Ives died but his song "Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas" lives on. Howard Cosell died nine days after that. Three months later, Zsa Zsa’s sister Eva Gabor passed away. So did Dean Martin.
What about famous births? It’s too early to tell, really, because 1995's progeny will only turn eleven in 2006. Of course, one soon-to-be-famous child named Jonah Benjamin Weller made his entrance into our world.
As I said, a lot can happen in a year of Sundays. I wonder what will happen in this year of fifty-three Sundays? There is much that we cannot control. Most of it, really. The world will spin on. People will die. Others will be born. Tragedies and triumphs persist. But what will occur in this year of Sundays for me? Do I have any control over that?
The answer? Yes and no. Life happens and often I am merely along for the ride. Nevertheless, I can "make the most of every opportunity" as Paul told the Colossian church. I can live every moment for Christ and for His purpose. I can dedicate myself to "connecting with God and with people" every moment of every day. While I can’t choose what happens to me, I can choose what happens by me.
It will be another six years before "bookend Sundays" return. When some preacher puts pen to paper in December 2011, what will he write? Will he write about me? About you? I doubt it. Truth be told, we’re both tiny blips on life’s radar. Still, maybe we can begin writing our own tale. One of hopes and love and devotion to God and each other. And though it may not become famous or be widely retold, we can still make a difference - an eternal difference- in this year’s fifty-three Sundays.