By Pastor Brad Heintz
So many people I know couldn’t wait for 2020 to be over. They are in love with the fact that 2021 is here. But will 2021 be any different or will it be a repeat of 2020? Will be like Groundhog Day? When you say that “something is like Groundhog Day,” it usually means it is a situation in which events are continually repeated. At least that’s the understanding I have had since watching the 1993 movie, Ground Hog Day. Just in case you are not familiar with one of the great romantic comedy movies of all time, Ground Hog Day stars Bill Murray as a cynical television weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In this romantic comedy, he experiences the same day over and over again until he learns to love. So basically, time was repeating itself until Bill Murray learned the lesson that his circumstances were trying to teach him.
Applying that movie trivia truth to 2021, we need to ask ourselves, what is going to keep the new year from being a repeat of the old? Did we learn anything from the crazy circumstances of 2020 or are we just repeating the same mistakes over and over again because we are ignoring, rejecting or trying to control our circumstances?
For Bill Murray, in Ground Hog Day, learning to love broke that cycle that had him stuck in life and he was able to move on and live the next day full of love. How about us? Maybe we haven’t learned because we don’t really understand love. The quote from Prince Charles, comes to mind when he was engaged to Princess Diana and was asked if they were in love. The Prince responded, “Whatever in love means.” Maybe if he really understood love their years would have turned out differently.
My Bible defines love in four ways. There is love for a friend, love for family and love for my wife. Then there is the fourth kind of love. This is the one Jesus shares in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” The fourth kind of love is a self-sacrificial action for the benefit of another.” God loved the world so much; he was willing to give up His Son to save the World. Jesus loved you and me so much that he gave his life for us. Now those are truly self-sacrificial actions for the benefit of another.
Now imagine self-sacrificial love in action applied to our lives and circumstances. If we have learned this kind of love in 2020, then we won’t have to worry about 2021 being a better new year. It will be better because of the self-sacrificial actions we are taking. Now just imagine if everyone did that? Wouldn’t that be a great new year which all of us could love! What actions are you going to take that will make 2021 better than 2020?