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The History of April Fools' Day

by Betty McDowell, LSW, LASAprilFool
Vice President of Ministry Services, Heartbeat International

The exact history of April Fools’ Day is a mystery. Tradition includes playing pranks and practical jokes on friends, family, co-workers and others. Even famous personalities and businesses have been known to create outrageous April Fools' hoaxes. I remember back in 1996 when Taco Bell fooled people with the announcement of purchasing the Liberty Bell and renaming it the Taco Bell. Some quickly realized the silliness while others were downright offended until they made the April Fools’ Day connection.

This year April Fool’s Day falls on Thursday of Holy Week. Some may feel uneasy about April Fool’s Day having such a close connection with our precious Holy Days and joyful Easter celebration, but I am at peace as I see a deeper perhaps even prophetic connection.

We currently find ourselves living in a world where “wisdom” from institutions we once held in esteem like the AMA, Universities, Government and even churches now tell us that we who hold to our ancient biblical values and Christian faith are foolish. The war on the value of human life wages as the cultural pressure increases to compromise, comply, and embrace a progressive view which completely goes against the biblical truth, that every person is made in the image of God and holds precious value at each stage of life.

If holding to my convictions regarding the value of the unborn means being counted a fool by the world’s standards, I am more than okay with that and you should be too.  After all we are in good company. The disciples must have looked like fools to the Romans – and even many Jews – when the Chief Priests and others were clearly turning against Jesus. Shouldn’t they have seen the writing on the wall? Judas certainly seemed to think so. Christ himself was considered a fool. He was mocked, condemned, tortured, and hated for serving, healing, teaching, saving and loving others.

It seems fitting to me that this year April Fool’s Day falls just before Good Friday. After all, the ultimate April Fool’s hoax was really played on the enemy of our souls. Christ willingly chose to look like a fool when he gave His life for ours. The enemy thought he had won. The enemy thought himself wise and rejoiced for three days when Christ died and was buried. 

BUT then…Christ arose and won the victory.

I do have hope that a time of revival is coming, a time when people will awaken from their stupor and follow God with their whole hearts loving what He loves and hating what He hates. Until that times comes, when I find myself troubled by the “wisdom of this world” I comfort myself with this scripture.

“Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a ‘fool’ so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’ and again, ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.’ So then, no more boasting about men!” (1 Cor 3:18-21)

From all of us at Heartbeat International we wish you the wisdom of God and the joy of a Happy Easter.