I spent this early morning, not by the light of my Christmas Tree, as is my normal December habit; but by the window, watching a meteor shower. Truth be told, I was also up at 2 AM with an unusual, but gratuitous, wakeup call from my dogs. The night sky was ablaze with stars and the meteors were streaking through the crisp, night sky. I watched for nearly thirty minutes before returning to bed. When I awoke later that morning, the meteors were still active, so I quickly woke my children.
We have a pact, I promise to wake them if I am witnessing a meteor shower, but they can’t complain about being tired that day at school. I have been known to wrap blankets around sleepy-eyed children and drag them outside for a glimpse. Thankfully, I had read that this was to last all night, allowing their viewing to not be quite as disruptive. It was nice to watch this show from the comfort of a pile of blankets and pillows on the kitchen floor. (Though there is nothing like standing in the cold of a winter morning and watching the meteors overhead.)
Seeing the wonders of the night sky makes me feel incredibly small and overwhelmingly large all at once. A connectedness to the energy and power of this magnificent universe.
And this year, we get a rare celestial treat on the Winter Solstice. Jupiter and Saturn have been moving in conjunction and will be the closest they have been since 1623, but an occurrence that hasn’t been visible to the naked eye since 1226. It is being called “The Christmas Star” because some astronomers believe the Star of Bethlehem could have been a planetary conjunction similar to what we will see on December 21st, (although two thousand years ago, it would have been Venus and Jupiter converging). The best time to view this event, according to experts, is 45 minutes after sunset on the longest night of the year.
I might be a bit of a geek when it comes to stars and planets in the night sky, but this is something we can all look at with a sense of hope. 2020 has been a difficult year, one that has impacted everyone in some way. There is a heaviness in the sheer chaos and destruction caused by the virus. But this, THIS is a hopeful sign; one not seen in nearly 800 years. The Bethlehem Star, an event associated with wisdom, prophecy and peace on earth, is making an appearance in just a few days.
I believe there are brighter days ahead, but that we still face a difficult winter. Witnessing such events and taking time to stand outside and soak them in; to feel small and huge all at once, is hopeful for me. I don’t believe in coincidences; I choose to believe we are being given the gift of hope this December as 2020 ends. And, I for one, receive it with open arms and a heart full of wonder.
Wishing you hope,