We might as well get ready for the reports. On February
2, just as in years past, there will be news reports
from Punxsutawney, PA.
This town of just over 6,000 residents attracts
thousands for the annual ritual of the groundhog.
Punxsutawney Phil will emerge from his burrow on that
date. The nation will wait anxiously to see if Phil
sees his shadow.
The tradition began in this Pennsylvania town in 1886,
but goes deeper in time in Europe. If the groundhog
sees his shadow, we are told, he will be frightened
into returning to his burrow and another six weeks of
winter weather will ensue.
Everyone hopes Phil doesn't see his shadow!
Does anyone today really believe this method of
climatology? Do we put away our winter clothes if we
hear that Phil didn't see his shadow? Or is it just
good-natured fun that doesn't affect any of our
Sadly, many approach their religion in much the same
way. Though they profess belief that Jesus emerged from
his grave long ago, nothing really changes in their
lives as a result of that belief.
Their values, their behavior, their speech they're
all about the same as anyone else's.
Paul wrote about how our lives should change: "For if
we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God
will bring with him those who sleep in him"
(1 Thessalonians 4:14).
Because Jesus rose, we will all be raised one day. And
then what? That's the point at which our faith begins
Peter was more direct: "Therefore, since all these
things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought
you to be in holy conduct and godliness" (2 Peter
The fact that Jesus rose from the grave and will return
to earth some day should affect the way we live in the
Punxsutawney Phil is based on nothing more than fables.
Our religion in Christ is not based on fables. "For we
did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made
known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Peter
Peter knew his faith was based on reality. So is ours
if we follow the apostles' doctrine.
We'll all chuckle and wink knowingly when we hear the
report from Pennsylvania next week. Then we'll go on
with our lives as if nothing happened. May that never
be the case with the way we view Jesus' resurrection!