Feb 7, 2009

I don't know what the future holds

Last week, on February 2nd, 13,000 people gathered in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania to figure out if there will be six more week of winter. Did they use a computer? Did they develop a complicated FORTRAN program based upon historic data and project that into the current year? No. These people, in a small town located 65 miles northeast of Pittsburg, all waited for a groundhog to come out hibernation for a day. According to their strange and bizarre tradition, if Punxsutawney Phil comes out of his hole and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.


They consult a groundhog! That's how strange they are in Pennsylvania. It's amazing the Steelers even made it to the Super Bowl, let alone win it. (Great game, by the way. Best in a long time! Maybe I should have consulted Punxsutawney Phil before I bet on the game.)


But I guess they're not the only ones who do this strange prognostication. In Howell, Michigan, Woody the Woodchuck predicted the same thing: Six more weeks of winter. I guess we gotta watch out for people from Michigan, too. Have these people ever even heard of a computer?


Actually, our whiz-bang research department looked into this whole tradition. I guess it goes back a long way ...all the way back to Old England. There is a day in the church year called Candlemas. It is the appointed day to celebrate the presentation of Jesus at the Temple. You will recall that Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and said, "Now let your servant depart in Peace. For my eyes have seen Thy salvation". It is celebrated in early February.


Now the Old English noted that if Candlemas was cold and dreary, winter would soon be over. But if Candlemas was bright with sunshine, they cautioned that another late-breaking storm could still happen, extending Christmas for another month or so. They even had a poem for it:


If Candlemas be fair and bright,

Winter has another flight.

If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,

Winter will not come again.


It should be noted that according to StormFax Weather Almanac, Phil has been right only 39% of the time ...about the same as modern-day weatherman!


Whether a groundhog or a woodchuck or a weatherman, no one, really knows what the future holds. But there is one thing I do know. I know WHO holds the future. And we are all safe and secure in His hands.




Pastor David Hook

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