Jim Denison on Making This Unusual Day Our Best Day

We are in the midst of Palindrome Week. A palindrome is “a word, phrase, or sequence that reads the same backward as forward.” Examples include “Mom,” “Dad,” and “Tell a ballet.”

Today is 9/13/19. Read backward, it’s still 9/13/19. The same was true Tuesday (9/10/19), Wednesday (9/11/19), and Thursday (9/12/19). The trend will continue until next Thursday (9/19/19).

Another ten-day palindrome week begins on 1/20/21. We’ll have more ten-day series in 2023, 2024, 2025, and so on through 2029. Not to mention thirty-eight “full palindrome days” scattered throughout the twenty-first century (9/10/2019 and 1/20/2021, for example).

WHY IS TODAY SO SPOOKY?

Today is unusual for another reason as well: we will see a “harvest micromoon” tonight. It is a “harvest moon” because, as the Farmer’s Almanac explains, such a full moon allows farmers to “work late into the night by this Moon’s light.”

It is also a “micromoon” because the moon is at its furthest distance from Earth. It will appear 14 percent smaller to us than when it’s at its closest (a “supermoon” such as we had last year).

And, of course, it’s a full moon on Friday the 13th. This last happened nationwide in 2000 and won’t happen again for the entire country until 2049.

Superstition regarding the number thirteen may have arisen in the Middle Ages, based on the fact that there were thirteen people present at Jesus’ Last Supper, which was held on the thirteenth day of Nisan on the Jewish calendar. Friday is associated with Jesus’ death, of course, but early tradition also identified it as the day Eve gave Adam the forbidden fruit and the day Cain killed his brother, Abel.

And so, a full moon (even if it’s a bit smaller than usual) on Friday the 13th is drawing considerable attention today.

WHY DO WE NAME PLANETS?

Why do we assign numbers to days (and even hours, minutes, and seconds) and names to natural phenomena? Why do I care what manmade name I call the “oak” tree in my yard or the planet “Venus” I can see in the night sky?

Friedrich Nietzsche believed that the “will to power” is the basic drive in human nature. We seek power and control over every dimension of our lives. Assigning names to things gives us a sense of ownership over them. Our neighbors don’t name our pets, for instance.

This impulse has biblical roots. In the Garden of Eden, God “formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name” (Genesis 2:19).

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Source: Christian Headlines