Groundhog Day: Any lessons from the movie named that?

Groundhog Day Celebration in Punxsutawney (Wikipedia)


There is an odd observance on February 2 each year in North America that is called Groundhog Day:

Groundhog Day … is a popular American tradition observed in the United States and Canada on February 2nd. It derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch superstition that if a groundhog emerging from its burrow on this day sees its shadow due to clear weather, it will retreat to its den and winter will persist for six more weeks; but if it does not see its shadow because of cloudiness, spring will arrive early.

While the tradition remains popular in modern times, studies have found no consistent correlation between a groundhog seeing its shadow and the subsequent arrival time of spring-like weather. … The Groundhog Day ceremony held at Punxsutawney in western Pennsylvania, centering around a semi-mythical groundhog named Punxsutawney Phil, has become the most attended. (Groundhog Day, Wikipedia, accessed 04/25/20)

So, no this is not a biblical holiday, so why mention it?

Well, in 1993, there was a movie starring Bill Murray titled Groundhog Day. Since coming out, it has become a cultural icon, in a sense, in the USA and elsewhere.

Here are parts of a synopsis of the Groundhog Day movie from IMDb (Internet Movie Database):

On February 1, self-centered and sour TV meteorologist Phil Connors (Bill Murray), news producer Rita (Andie MacDowell) and cameraman Larry (Chris Elliott) from fictional Pittsburgh television station WPBH-TV9 travel to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities with Punxsutawney Phil, the Groundhog. Having grown tired of this assignment, Phil begrudgingly gives his Groundhog Day report the next day (February 2) during the festival and parade.

After the celebration concludes, a blizzard develops that Connors had predicted would miss them, closing the roads and shutting down long-distance phone services, forcing the team to return to Punxsutawney. Connors awakens the next morning, however, to find it is February 2 again, and his day unfolds in almost exactly the same way. Connors can change his behavior, but other people do and say the same things they did and said the previous day, unless Connors changes something. He is aware of the repetition, but everyone else seems to be living February 2 for the first time. This recursion repeats the following morning and the one after that, and over and over again. …

After briefly trying to rationalize his situation, and then thinking he is insane, Connors takes advantage of learning the day’s events and the information he is able to gather about the town’s inhabitants, and finds that his actions have no long-term consequences for himself. He revels in this situation for a time: seducing beautiful women, stealing money, even driving drunk and experiencing a police chase. However, his attempts to seduce his producer, Rita, are met with repeated failures. He begins to tire of, and then dread, his existence, starting the day by smashing the alarm clock and professing the inanity of Groundhog Day as a holiday in his newscast. (Groundhog Day, 1993.

Yes, Bill Murray’s character Phil Connors displayed what was warned about in the last days by the Apostle Paul:

1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, (2 Timothy 3:1-2, NKJV throughout)

19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, (Galatians 5:19)

Phil Connors loved the world and wanted to pursue the works of the flesh. He did not care much about the following that the Apostle John wrote when his time loop began:

16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:16-17)

Yes, the world is passing away.

Consider also that the Bible calls the ‘pleasures of sin’ “passing” in Hebrews 11:25. So, since he had to repeat the same day over and over and over again, Phil eventually starts to see the vanity in this.

Back to the movie synopsis:

He opens his heart to Rita, and her advice helps him to gradually find a goal for his trapped life: as a benefactor to others. He cannot, in a single day, bring others to fulfill his needs but he can achieve self-improvement by educating himself on a daily basis. After seeing an elderly homeless man die, Connors vows that no one will die on “his” day and performs many heroic services each and every repeating day, including performing the Heimlich maneuver on a choking man and saving a little boy who falls from a tree. …

Though the film does not specify the number of repetitions, there is enough time for Connors to learn many complex skills, such as how to play jazz piano, speak French, sculpt ice, and memorize the life story of almost everyone in town. … the intent in the original script was for the time-frame of Connors’ repeating days to be ambiguous, but longer than a single lifetime …Director Harold Ramis tried to leave the time-frame loop ambiguous as how many times Connors re-lives February 2, but it is strongly speculated by Connors (and the viewers) to be at least 10 years.

Do you ever feel that you have to deal with the same problems over and over again? Do you ever wonder if there is any point to it?

We know that there is as:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Now, back to the synopsis:

Eventually, Phil sees his own shadow, so to speak, and changes from an inconsiderate, callous egocentric into a thoughtful, kindhearted philanthropist, refining his understanding of human decency, which, in return, makes him an appreciated and beloved man in the town. …

He wakes … and finds the time loop is broken; it is now February 3. Phil is a different person than he was on February 1 …

Yes, the trial ended once he learned what he was supposed to learn, then he awoke to a different day. Notice what will happen to Christians:

51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52)

Getting back to Groundhog Day, Phil learned a version of the following:

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in the power of your hand to do so. (Proverbs 3:27)

He not only learned it, he practiced it.

Consider that every day we all have things to learn. While the actual days are not repeated, we are faced with multiple opportunities to build character. And yes, we often face the same problems, illnesses, pains, etc. each day.

When will those trials actually end?

Well, they will whenever you and I have learned all that God wants us to learn.

For some of those problems, they will not end until we die.

Jesus taught:

48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Yes, in a sense, life can be like Groundhog Day in the sense we have to go through a lot of the same or similar tests and trials to learn how to better live and serve.

It takes a while to build godly character, even for Christians:

1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

Yes, we have hope. Hope, not only in this age, but also the hope of the resurrection.

The Psalmist wrote:

24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

As Christians we should rejoice in the opportunity each day provides to build character and give love. For more on YOUR purpose, check out the free online book: The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you?

Remember Jonah:

1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. (Jonah 1:1-3)

But God decided Jonah still needed to do the job, so there was a storm on the sea, and Jonah was tossed into the sea:

Portrayal of Jonah being swallowed by the fish (Wikipedia)

17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)

If you have a task that you are supposed to do, and do not do it, yes, something may happen to you to get your attention. Do not wait to have to have negative things happen over and over again before you change.

Jesus warned:

14 … Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you. (John 5:14)

Christians are to change and not repeat the same mistakes or sins each day. The Bible also teaches:

11 … God is angry with the wicked every day. (Psalm 7:11)

So, obviously, do not be wicked. Even if you do wrong, consider the following:

22 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; (Lamentations 3:22-23a)

Yes, God is merciful every day.

Furthermore, Christians are not to worry, but are to take things one day at a time. As Jesus said:

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:31-34)

The Apostle Peter wrote:

10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)

The Apostle Paul also wrote:

25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:25-27)

Yes, unlike Phil Connors in Groundhog Day, we are striving for an unperishable crown.

Just because you may have been a Christian for a long time, do not think that if you give up you also cannot become disqualified.

Remember, Jesus said:

12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. (Matthew 24:12-13)

So, if you ever wonder why you keep going through a lot of the same tests and trials, consider that you are to endure and learn lessons.

With those lessons learned, you will be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

Don’t give up.

Take it one day at a time–but don’t waste each day.

David wrote:

2 Every day I will bless You, And I will praise Your name forever and ever. (Psalm 145:2)

So, there is something to do every day!

Furthermore, as the Apostle Peter wrote, we are to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18).

Yes, make the best of each day.

Don’t be so stubborn that every day has to be a movie version of Groundhog Day.

We also put together a related video:


Lessons from ‘Groundhog Day’

Groundhog Day is a popular American tradition observed in the United States and Canada on February 2nd, that science shows is essentially based on a myth. In 1993, there was a movie starring Bill Murray as Phil Connors titled ‘Groundhog Day.’ It has become a cultural icon in a sense in the USA. In the movie, Phil ends up in a time loop where everyday is February 2nd. This goes on for at least ten years. At first, Phil pursues various lusts of the flesh. But eventually, he tires of the vanity of it all. Instead of being a selfish taker, he becomes a giver. Once he has learned whatever he is supposed to learn, he finally awakes to a new day and a new life. Are there lessons here for Christians? What are some of them? Can we learn anything from Jonah and his being swallowed by a great fish? What should Christians do each day? What shouldn’t Christians do? What about the mystery of God’s plan and the Kingdom of God? Dr. Thiel goes over these topics and more in this scripture filled video he relates to comments about the movie ‘Groundhog Day.’

Here is a link to our video: Lessons from ‘Groundhog Day’.

Some items of possibly related interest may include:

The MYSTERY of GOD’s PLAN: Why Did God Create Anything? Why did God make you? This free online book helps answers some of the biggest questions that human have, including the biblical meaning of life. Here is a link to three related sermons: Mysteries of God’s Plan, Mysteries of Truth, Sin, Rest, Suffering, and God’s Plan, and The Mystery of YOU.
Building Character: Going on to Perfection Once you have accepted Jesus, do you need to strive for perfection and build character? A related video sermon is available: Going on to perfection and building character.
What is Your Destiny? Deification? Did the Early Church Teach That Christians Would Become God? What is your ultimate destiny? What does the Bible teach? Is deification only a weird or cultic idea? Are you to rule the universe? Here is a link to the video sermon What is Your Destiny?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God This free online pdf booklet has answers many questions people have about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God and explains why it is the solution to the issues the world is facing. Here are links to three related sermons: The World’s False Gospel, The Gospel of the Kingdom: From the New and Old Testaments, and The Kingdom of God is the Solution.
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?

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