Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Sun Stands Still - Winter Solstice 2016

The winter solstice in the eastern United States arrived about two hours before sunrise today. For those who don't care for winter - I'm one - this is a happy day because days will now be getting longer all the way until the summer solstice in June. Over the next six months in the northern hemisphere the sun reaches a bit higher in the sky each day. And as the days lengthen, the increased insolation means higher temperatures. It's a wonderful prospect around our house. In fact the rebirth of the sun hasn't gone unnoticed by humans over a long, long time. If you ever wanted to know more about the science behind the solstice or these cultural responses. . .




The Druids

Google's Doodle


The Feast of Juul



Dia de Santo Tomas en Guatemala

. . . check out The Telegraph's article, "When is the winter solstice? Everything you need to know about the shortest day of the year."  The Telegraph doesn't like ad blockers so you'll have to close their popup notice if you have one installed.

The winter solstice is also know as Midwinter is some circles. Here is unquestionably the song of the day, In the Bleak Midwinter, a perfect blend of nature and the "coming of the light" in the celebration of the birth of Jesus.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk,
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air -
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can, I give Him -
Give my heart.


Photos and Illustrations:
Simon Banton, Sunset at Stonehenge 12/20/2009.


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