When a chilling winter breeze rolls through the air, you are likely hoping it will be the last. Each time you hear a forecast of inclement weather on the news, you are probably hoping you won’t get buried in snow. As you look with eager anticipation for this weather to end, you are not alone. Groundhog Day is a time when we come together in hopes that an animal can give us some sign that winter will be retreating soon.
As the tradition goes, observers watch as the groundhog emerges from its burrow. If it sees its shadow, it will be frightened, and retreat back into its burrow, indicating six more weeks of winter. If the weather is clear enough, the groundhog will crawl of its burrow and spring weather will come shortly.
While this has been part of our tradition for years, there is no clear indication that the groundhog can truly predict the rise of spring weather, or the longevity of winter. What lessons can we learn from Groundhog Day?
- Who do you worship?
- Whose predictions can you trust?
- Why do we long for the end of winter?
Groundhog Day isn’t a tradition that necessarily entails worshipping an animal, but it seems to presuppose too much hope in a fallible creature, when we could just look to the creator. While it may be a fun ritual to see if the groundhog can make a prediction about the weather, the Bible does caution against being like those who trade the incorruptible image of God, for the image of fallen man:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Given the opportunity to look to the creature for a weather prediction, you can turn this opportunity into a chance to share with others why this tradition is so faulty. While you could put your trust in a groundhog, it is so much more reliable to trust in God for everyday decisions.
Aside from weather, perhaps the single greatest event we all are searching to understand is the end of the world, or the end times, as we know from the Bible. Scientists can predict how long the sun will continue to shine, and come up with models to predict how long before the universe winds down into absolute zero, but as believers we know these are not the ends that await us. Much like the weather sometimes, we have to trust the words of Christ:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
Much like how Groundhog Day can lead us to trust in an unreliable source for a prediction, we can be misled about end times predictions from those around us. We can place our trust in God alone for the uncertain future that is ahead.
Lastly, we must consider why the tradition of Groundhog Day is so important. Is there something about winter that causes us to look forward to spring with eager anticipation? During the winter many plants die, or reach a dormant state. Animals hibernate. The beauty of nature is overcast with a temporary death. For many, and especially farmers, winter is symbolic of death. Yet, the spring yields a sense of rebirth as plant life is restored, and hibernating creatures are rejuvenated. The cycle of death and rebirth reveals the longing of our souls.
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
As you find others celebrating Groundhog Day, or at least hoping for the end of winter, you can point them toward the everlasting spring that is found in Christ. How will you make the most of this Groundhog Day? Do you have traditions that you like to honor?
Hi, I’m Micah Black. I began my career with Mardel in 2006, while earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma. While I love to write fiction and convey stories through novels, I also have a passion for studying philosophy, theology, and apologetics. I enjoy the faith-building resources available at Mardel, and look forward to sharing what new topics and information I’m learning.