…from glory to glory

Out of the Shadows of February…

Every year on this date, we moderns anticipate the verdict of that fuzzy critter called a groundhog, thinking his emergence from his chilly hidey hole will comfort us or encourage us to know that spring cannot be far away…

I cannot fault anyone in the Northern Hemisphere, for whom winter is less than comforting, for wishing there would be no February. But I found out something today–in this country that has given a groundhog newsworthy status and a name known nationally in America as Punxsutawney Phil…


What I find highly newsworthy on this date in February has to do with one of my favorite passages of Scripture; in it is the historical  record of an encounter between an old Jewish man and a little Jewish boy child in the Temple in Jerusalem long, long ago in our corner of the galaxy…

I am sharing a piece written by the Rector of my church, a piece that gives me great encouragement–something to remember and to celebrate as February begins…

Here it is:

About that Groundhog… 

by Rev. Peter Frank, Rector – Church of the Epiphany, Anglican – Herndon, Virginia

Have you ever wondered why we try to tell the future by asking ourselves whether or not a groundhog sees his shadow every February 2?  It’s a bit of a winding road, but if you follow it all the way back, you get to a Christian celebration called “Candlemas” that marks the presentation of Jesus in the temple 40 days after his birth, (December 25 – February 2 is 40 days).

There were, of course, no groundhogs at the temple, when little Jesus arrived.  Northern European settlers in Pennsylvania are the ones who drafted the large rodents into Candlemas celebrations in the 19th century.  We don’t know if it was sunny or cloudy that day in Jerusalem and what connection if any that had to winter that year. All we do know is that Jesus’ parents made the customary offering, and simply presented Jesus to the Lord, as Exodus 13 commands for all firstborn sons.

But there were those at the temple who knew what they were seeing and what it meant for the future.  Luke particularly mentions an old man, a prophet, named Simeon, who was looking for Israel’s savior.  And when Simeon saw Jesus, he knew he saw the light.  “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation… a light for the revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2.29-32).

Friends, do we like Simeon know who we are seeing when we see Jesus?  As we make the final turn out of our modern holiday season and start the long journey through the year, my hope is that like Simeon, we can “depart in peace,” knowing that Immanuel, the “God with us” at Christmas in fact walks with us the whole year through.

That is most certainly true this February 2.  As for whether or not we  will have six more weeks of winter.  I have no idea.  And, sadly, neither does Punxsutawney Phil.

I pray you find a renewed joy as the winter month of February begins, and as it reminds us in the  Northern Hemisphere that God knows how uncomfortable living on this fallen planet is. Out of the shadows of February may your eyes see your Salvation! His Hebrew Name is Yeshua; and the nations call Him Jesus…

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