Groundhog Day

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February 2 is observed annually in the United States and Canada as Groundhog Day. In addition, this date will always be remembered in our family as the anniversary of Terry’s first hip replacement surgery last year. Thanks be to God and to her wonderful orthopedic surgeon, she is doing quite well. We even danced last week, for the first time in a long time!

But let’s get back to Groundhog Day, adopted in the U.S. in 1887. Wikipedia says: “Punxsutawney Phil Sowerby is the name of a succession of groundhogs in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The town of Punxsutawney holds the largest Groundhog Day celebration, honoring the legendary groundhog with a festive atmosphere of music and food.”

“During the ceremony, which begins well before the winter sunrise, Phil emerges with his “wife” Phyllis and “daughter” Phelicia from his temporary home on Gobbler’s Knob, located in a rural area about 2 miles southeast of town.”

“According to tradition, if Phil sees his shadow and returns to his hole, he has predicted six more weeks of winter-like weather. If Phil does not see his shadow, he has predicted an early spring. Punxsutawney Phil became a national celebrity thanks to the 1993 movie Groundhog Day.

Here at our home in Georgetown, Texas, the day I wrote this article the temperature reached a high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If this is the kind of winter Punxsutawney Phil predicts will last six more weeks after today, I say bring it on!

Perhaps I should feel a bit guilty enjoying this kind of weather the first week of February, especially in light of having spoken this week with dear friends who live in Gunnison, Colorado. They reported a temperature of -37 degrees Fahrenheit. Lord, have mercy!

Whether Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction proves accurate remains to be seen. And even if our 75 degree temperature plummets precipitously, I’ll still thank God for the privilege of enjoying his gracious gifts of health and happiness, family and faith, life and love, freedom and forgiveness!

I hope you’ll agree!

Spring has Sprung!

FlowersThat’s a saying that may or may not be grammatically correct. As a matter of fact, Spell Check on my computer took a second look at it, with a squiggly frown on its electronic face.

Many in our land have been inundated with an unusually brutal winter. Records have fallen in numerous categories, particularly total snowfall in the Northeast. But not in Texas.

Here in central Texas winter was more messy than record breaking, with many misty and chilly but not frigid days of drizzle and dreariness. At least for the moment those things have given way to sunshine and warmth, the stuff we’re accustomed to experiencing here at this time of year.

Another sign of spring in Texas is the eruption of colors in the landscape. Earlier this week I was traveling along a road that provides a multi-mile view of rolling hills and valleys. I saw beautiful shades of green, provided by newly-leafed trees awaking from their winter hibernation.

In addition, I saw some of my favorite wildflowers—bluebonnets—which seem to have appeared overnight. Some of the uninformed mistakenly call them bluebells. That’s the ice cream company. The flower is a bluebonnet. But I digress.

Along with spring comes the Festival of the Resurrection of our Lord. In many ways the things I’ve just described about spring are subtle seasonal reminders of the awakening, the eruption, the appearance of our Lord Jesus from his time in the tomb. Thankfully, his season of embalmed hibernation was brief and temporary. Unlike spring, his reappearance and reemergence are not seasonal but eternal.

Remember that reality as you walk next week with billions of Christians around the world the path of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday. It’s the week we Christians call Holy.

Many blessings to each of you! Spring has sprung!