Friday, April 1, 2016

DEVOTION: Are You an April Fool? by Shirley Corder

In 1957, the BBC published a report of farmers in Switzerland experiencing a record crop of spaghetti. Amazed spectators watched as the farmers harvested noodles from trees. Eager pasta-lovers phoned the radio station to find out where they could get these trees.

In 1996, the fast-food restaurant chain, Taco Bell, announced it was going to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. Thousands of worried citizens phoned to confirm this shocking news.

In 1998, the Burger King promoted their latest “Left-Handed Whopper,” where all the condiments and the bun were rotated in the opposite direction, especially for the lefties of the community. Queues of customers rushed to buy this special burger.

In 1962, Sweden’s Sveriges Television announced to viewers that they could switch their black-and-white TV to colour. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their screen. The company explained how the nylon mesh would bend the light in such a way that the image would appear to be in colour - and this in a country which had no coloured TV.

Perhaps the best story of all occurred in 1992, when the Los Angeles airport executives created a gigantic yellow banner on the ground that announced in 20-foot high red text, "Welcome to Chicago". Commuters flying into the L.A. airport and looking out the window must have been thrown into a panic and wondered how they had arrived at the wrong airport.

What do all these stories have in common?
Look at the image at the top, and you'll get the point. They all occurred on April 1st! They were all "April Fool" jokes.

So where did this crazy idea come from?
Believe it or not, one of the theories attributes the tradition to Pope Gregory X111 who, in 1582, replaced the old Julian Calendar with the Gregorian Calendar. So New Year's Day shifted from April 1st to January 1st. Many people refused to accept this, while others didn't know in time and continued to celebrate the New Year on April 1st. They were called April Fools, and often sent on fictitious tasks to emphasize their foolishness.

There are other theories of course, but the general teaching is if you fall for the prank before midday, you are an "April Fool"! But if it is after midday, the prankster becomes the "April Fool".

Although the history of April Fool's Day goes back many centuries, there is nothing new about people being called fools. There are many verses in Scripture which can help to guide us in our daily walk. Let's take a quick look at a few of them.
  • The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Psalms 14:1
  • A fool utters all his mind: but a wise man keeps it in till afterwards. Proverbs 29:11
  • Be not hasty in your spirit to be angry: for anger rests in the bosom of fools.Ecclesiastes 7:9 
There are more . . . but these should get us thinking. 

Happy April Fools Day!

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband, Rob. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on her time in the cancer valley.

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  1. I have difficulty enjoying April Fools Day.

    April 1, 1970, is the date that my grandmother (in whose home I lived for 14 years) was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Surgeons did an exploratory, closing within an hour. They sent us home to enjoy the "few weeks, or months," left to us.

    But the joke was on them. Our few months was actually sixteen months. My grandmother went home to be with the Lord on August 3, 1971.

    God is still in charge.

    1. Thanks for this Judith, and Amen! Over 18 years ago, a surgeon gave me less than a year to live. Guess you could say he was a November Fool!

  2. PS: I remember the Swiss spaghetti trees.

    1. What fun. It seems so ridiculous, but I suppose when you SEE a thing like that on TV it makes it all the more plausible!

  3. Wow...I can't believe people fell for those! I can't say I've ever pulled April Fools pranks - I like to say I'm too mature for that but really I'm just not that clever haha.
    Great post Shirley!

    1. Thanks Leila. I actually had another devotion written for this day, then suddenly realised it was April 1st and I should really look into April Fool's Day! I admit I had some good giggles.

  4. Great stories, Shirley! We were out of town, so I didn't even realize it was April 1 on Friday, but I've made up for it by sharing your post!

    1. Thank you for your visit and comment, Donna. Yes, I admit our April 1 went by with very little comments too. I'm inclined to think it's dying out - or maybe it's just that I'm into the age group that doesn't find it such fun anymore!

  5. I remember a television announcer here in South Africa telling people to watch the skies in the evening where, if there were no clouds, they may see the unusual phenomena of a sleigh being pulled by reindeer. The inference was that Santa had made a mistake with the dates! I have no idea if anyone fell for it, but I thought it was really funny.

  6. I tried to reply on the ICFW post but my machine refused to play ‘ball.’ So I’ll send this to you direct simply to say ‘Thanks!’

    Ray Hawkins.

    1. Thanks Ray! Machines at times are capable of playing April Fools day no matter the date!