by Loreena Thiessen
This New Year is special. It’s the year 2020. Actually every year has special events and significant dates to remember and celebrate. But 2020 is not like any other year. 2020 is the two thousand and twentieth year since Jesus was born. 2020 is the 20th year of the twenty-first century. And 2020 is a new decade; it is the first year of the 2020s.
Many years ago when 2020 was still far into the future people made fantastic predictions. They believed that by 2020 instead of a car each household would have a family helicopter parked in their driveway; you would fly to do your shopping and for appointments. They believed people would be living on Mars. They believed no one would be eating hamburgers, chicken or steak; instead everyone would be vegetarian. And they believed cars would only drive through tubes, there would be no more bumpy roads or potholes to deal with.
So far none of these have come to pass. We still drive cars on bumpy roads, we barbecue hamburgers, and no person has been to Mars.
Throughout history people have invented new things to help us live better and more easily with better things, and more efficiently with less effort or hardship, and with less waste. God created people to be able to imagine and reason, to experiment and solve problems. And that is what is happening. But you may be surprised to know that some lifesaving and useful things were invented totally by accident. This means that they came to be while someone was working on something else, they were not the goal.
One of these is penicillin. Penicillin is an antibiotic you may need if you have a sore throat or an ear infection. Almost 100 years ago a scientist left a dish with bacteria in his lab. He came back later to find that the bacteria did not grow because of a mold called penicillium.
Another one is X-rays. While doing an experiment a scientist discovered the X-rays that passed through the skin in his hand showed only the bones. Now doctors can find a break more accurately.
Some fun foods, too, came about by accident, or by trying something different. One is the potato chip. To make them less chewy, potatoes were sliced thin as paper then fried in oil until they were crisp. I’ll bet potato chips are one of your favourite snacks.
And there’s the ice cream cone. The cone was invented by an Italian shop owner in New York City in 1866. He used actual cups to serve the ice cream but he ran out. To solve the problem he twisted a thin waffle into a cone shape to hold the scoops. And his guests loved it, just like you do today.
The year 2020 is special for yet another reason: you get an extra day, February 29, because it’s a leap year.
To celebrate this extra day you could plan a dress up party or special meal. You could do an extra chore or a kindness. You could record the weather that day, or write a story or a poem that describes this day.
What will you do on this extra day? Read Colossians 3:17.