Week Four: Monday
Today is December 21, the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year with the longest night. It is also the occasion of a much-anticipated planetary event, the conjunction of two of the largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, so low in the sky that they will look like one huge star, an event that hasn’t happened in some 800 years. In fact, some astronomers believe that it is possible that the Star of Bethlehem was actually a conjunction of both planets and the moon. Just imagine that “star of wonder”!
We are nearing the end of a very long, tedious year, and all of us could use a little wonder right now. We feel expectation in this turning point of the year as the time of daylight will begin to grow longer and a new year waits just ahead. This unique planet occurrence seems intended specifically for the conclusion of this particular year as some sort of reassurance, or even blessing. I know that I will be looking up; after all, we’ve been seeking the Light together on this journey for four weeks now.
The thought of looking up this evening reminds me of a time as a child when I took a long winter’s evening walk with my father. We lived at that time in Northern Virginia, and it was one of those nights when the cold is so brittle that the stars seem to shimmer and shine more vibrantly. We stopped to gaze at them, and my father talked about God the Creator: how God had designed that spectacular vision and how the God who formed those stars had also created us. In my moment of childhood wonder, I asked, “If God made us, who made God?” My father paused and then said, “No one made God. God has always been.” I replied that that didn’t make sense and my father agreed, then added, “Faith is sometimes just that, believing in what we don’t understand.”
I’ve had my own struggles with “believing in what we don’t understand” over these many years—believing that good can somehow come out of bad; believing in the love of a Creator who called all things, all nature, all people, even the stars, into being; believing in the darkest of times that “this too shall pass” and that “all shall be well” as the mystic ancient guide Julian of Norwich prophesied; believing that such a powerful, majestic Creator would deign to walk this earth as one of us; believing that I am beloved just because I am; believing that the Light does and will shine in the darkness. But tonight I will look up and remember my father’s words, and whether I see the Bethlehem Star of 2020 or not, I will choose to believe in Love, and Light, and Healing, Hope, and Beauty, and Peace, and in that Light that comes to all nations, all people, opening eyes, freeing prisoners, and releasing from the dungeons of ourselves all of us who sit in darkness. As we gaze at the Light, let us choose to believe that the Light is gazing at us.
This link is a gift from Lisa Thiel who sings the Winter Solstice Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W4KDMMbnLk. Blessings to you.
2 thoughts on “Star Gazing”
Beautiful, loved it. We will be looking up this evening, and hopefully the world will place this Christmas Star and all of us in the shepherd’s fields of Bethlehem with that host of angels filling the sky and allowing Mary’s Son and our Savior to be born in our hearts, a few days early from Christmas Eve of 2020. God bless. 🎄🙏🙏🙏
What a beloved story about you and your dad, Rosemary. I can hear Uncle Harry’s voice. Theologian Marcus Borg wrote, “To believe is to belove…what we believe we belove. Faith is about beloving God”. And we are God’s beloved. Thank you for a beautiful reflection. It will be clouds and rain here tonight but I will try to envision the miracle in the skies. May the Light shine in us all in this longest night.