Groundhog Day Thoughts - It's NOT the Same as Easter!
One of my favorite NON-Christian holidays is Groundhog's Day - not just because two of our favorite Trinity people have birthdays yesterday (you know who you are! - Happy Birthday!!!), but because it's just an odd day. It involves furry creatures who come up from the ground... well, perhaps you see where this is going.
For MANY people, Easter is of no more importance than Groundhog Day, and in their minds is really similar - Easter involves a rabbit, it has to do with some kind of legend or story that makes little sense at all in 2010, it involves something or someone coming up out of the ground and it has little or no significance in their daily lives.
This year, Punxsutawney Phil did indeed see his shadow, meaning that Pennsylvanians have to endure six more weeks of winter. Or not. He's been correct, by some measures, less than 40% of the time. That's not too good. Pretty much a failing grade, actually.
What we celebrate at Easter is FAR different than this. Yes, the Easter Bunny has connections with an ancient Anglo-Saxon myth (the goddess Eastre), but it was Jesus who rose from the grave - not the bunny. And Jesus didn't just see his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter or Lent or whatever... He rose CONQUERING the winter and darkness of our souls, bringing us into light and life. For all eternity! It amazes me how some people confuse the two holidays - or at least give them the same weight and importance in their lives. I can see, though, how some might get confused...
Lent, which begins
with Ash Wednesday on February 17th, begins the time of preparation for
the celebration of Easter - so we DON'T get confused. We'll be looking
at a character named Jonah in our Lenten journey this year - he had an
amazing journey of faith that I think we can identify with on many levels.
Pastor Larry Becker