I don't know any more than anyone else about when the world will end (or if it will end, or what ending means...I'm a believer in new creation rather than ending). Maybe the Mayan calendar (although how they came up with the modern calendar date of Dec. 21, 2012 from the Mayan calendar, I'm not sure) and the Bible code (something I'm fairly sure is completely made up and could be manipulated to say whatever one wants to predict) and the many other sources that allegedly claim this as the date of ultimate destruction are right. I have no idea. What I do know is that this sort of sensationalist panic-mongering is not helpful. Okay, "not helpful" is not strong enough. What I really mean to say is that it is destructive, possibly as destructive as the cataclysmic event it is predicting.
I am reminded of the Y2K predictions. First of all, they just didn't come to fruition in the way that people expected - and they were to some degree founded on reason and information about computer functionality. Second, as far as I can see, they didn't do anyone any good. Did any of us spend 1999 making amends to those we had hurt, or spending more time with those we love, or reordering our priorities to spend our potential last days as kinder, happier, more compassionate people? If we did, I didn't notice. If there was any life change at all because of those predictions, it seemed to be hunkering down and collecting the material goods we thought might give us a shot at surviving the crisis. I did not see a lot of people feeling more appreciative of life or making the most of every moment. What I saw was fear.
People live in fear of all sorts of things: fear of death, fear of losing someone they love, fear of instability or insecurity or lack of love. The healthcare debate is motivated greatly by the fear that providing for some people's care may negatively affect our own. The "War on Terror" seems to me to be better named the "War of Terror," as it was incited and backed by an immense collective fear of attack by some faceless, relentless, purely evil enemy. Cancer research has made us afraid of Nalgene bottles, aspartame, cell phone radiation, and deodorant. Swine flu is currently making us afraid to shake one another's hands in church (I can't imagine what we're going to do next week for Communion).
I suppose the capacity for fear is part of human nature. Some level of fear is a survival instinct. But fear that runs our lives is destructive. It strips us of the ability to experience all the wonderful things of life: joy, love, peace, hope. It reduces us and robs us of our quality of life. Ironically, the desperation to preserve our lives ends up stealing our lives from us.
Fear is unavoidable, but what it creates within us is a choice. I for one do not want to live my life under the confines of fear. I choose hope.