April's Fool Day: Playing with Fire
April Fool's Day has been around since at least 1582. That's when France changed from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian. Before that time, the New Year was celebrated for eight days, leading up to April 1. But when the Gregorian calendar became official, New Year's Day became January 1.
Back then, news traveled slowly, and many people did not know about the change for several years. Others, though they knew, resisted the changed and kept celebrating New Year's on April 1 as they had always done. Both of these groups, the ignorant and the traditional, became subject to ridicule and were labeled as "fools." They were often sent on "fool's errands" and made the victim of other practical jokes.
This light-hearted harassment slowly evolved into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April. You might want to take a look at the Museum of Hoaxes's "Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time," which includes two worth mentioning. Leading up to April 1, 2000, a Dutch IPO was announced. It brought in $7 million before the hoax was revealed. Four year earlier, in 1997, there was a world-wide request that everyone log off the Internet from Mark 31 through April 2 to allow "five very powerful Japanese-built multi-lingual Internet-crawling robots (Toshiba ML-2274) situated around the world" to clean the Internet free of all of the "flotsam and jetsam" that had accumulated, purging it of dead e-mail addresses, and inactive ftp, www, and gopher sites.
The Bible says, "Like a madman shooting firebrands or deadly arrows is a man who deceives his neighbor and says, 'I was only joking!'" (Proverbs 26:18-19). Better to find other ways to have fun or even to bypass the humor than to laugh at another's expense. Some people's self esteem just can't afford to take a hit. Or if you must have your laugh, choose your victim carefully. The Bible warns you are playing with fire, and fire has a way of getting out of hand.
Steve Singleton, DeeperStudy.com