Groundhog Day 2016 - No Shadow for Phil!
Punxsy Phil doesn’t see a shadow and neither should we!
I’m not talking about an early spring here -although that would be great! I am talking about not retreating into our cozy den when phantom shadows appear.
This idea of shadows has been bouncing around my head for the last month. But today seems the perfect day for it to emerge out of the of the portal of my mind and have some light shine on it!
It all started when I read these words from Ann Voskamp in her advent devotional. “And once the light of Christ shatters your dark, shadows forever flee your shadowlands. There’s no going back and living in the dark; you live in the impenetrable, safe Light of light, and Christmas never ends for you.” 1
Wow! Christ has shattered my darkness and transported me from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light but sometimes I feel like there are still shadows lurking. Why?
Shadows can come from many things: past pain, disappointments, rejection, betrayal, addictions or even sickness. Shadows of fear of failure, inadequacy and lack can meet you at every turn. They may have you retreating into your cozy den: scared to try something new, or afraid to take the next step. Sometimes if shadows persist long enough they become a shadowland and you just resign yourself to live there. But whatever your shadows are, and however they got there, when they are brought into the Light of God’s presence they will vanish.
If I am looking directly into the light I cannot see any shadows. It is only when I turn my back to the Light or turn to the side that shadows appear. When I look to Christ, the Light of the world, and focus on Him I will not see shadows. So I need to look ahead and not behind. I need to put past failures, mistakes and sins behind me and quit dragging them into each New Year. They are in the past and I can move ahead unencumbered when I leave them there. As written in Isaiah I need to forget the former things and open my eyes and see the new thing God is doing.2
Remember the good. Forget the bad.
Turn toward the light and the shadows will disappear.
So is it as easy as just turning? And how do I turn? Sometimes it is not easy. You need others to help. You need others to pray. Getting into God's word, and meditating on His promises is a great first step.3 Praise is also a great way to get refocused and turned around. Spending time magnifying the Lord, remembering His faithfulness, and sharing His love with others will go far in keeping you in the light. 4
Today is a new day. This is a new year. Things can be different.
Don’t let the shadows of yesterday's failures paralyze you or drag you down.
Look up! Follow Jesus the Light of the World.5
1 The Greatest Gift -Ann Voskamp pgs. 139, 140
2 (Isaiah 43:18-19) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
3 (Psalm 119:105) Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
4 (1 John 1:7) But if we live in the light, as God is in the light, we can share fellowship with each other. Then the blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from every sin.
5 (John 8:12) Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”