Crossing the Antarctic Circle

James Cook went where no man had gone before. The captain of the Royal Navy was the first person to cross the Antarctic Circle. He did it on this day in history – January 17, 1773.

I’m not sure how he knew it. The Antarctic Circle is an imaginary line lying at latitude 66.30 degrees south. The line is defined by being the northern-most area where the sun does not set for an entire 24-hour period (winter solstice – December 21) or rise for a 24-hour period (June 21). From the Antarctic Circle southward, the length of uninterrupted day or night continues to increase from one day until, at the South Pole, a day or night lasts six months.

On the same 1773 Pacific expedition, Cook charted Easter Island and Tonga in the Pacific, as well as the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia Island in the Atlantic. In 1779, while searching for the supposed Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Cook stopped in the Hawaiian Islands, where he was killed by the islanders.

Let’s go back to the Antarctic Circle. The lesson is that a courageous explorer was willing to go where no man had gone before, even if he couldn’t see the Circle. The Bible says “the just shall live by faith,” and that faith is the evidence of things not seen. It also says it is impossible to please God apart from faith.

Are you living by sight or by faith? And where are you going where no man has gone before?

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