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Meditations: “The Meaning of the Solstice

While most of us have heard the term, Winter Solstice, we don’t necessarily know what it means. Many years ago, when I first started celebrating the solstice, a scientist explained it to me in a way that made sense. Learning from him, I wrote a reflection on the solstice that gives his scientific perspective a spiritual slant. I share it with you now.

The dark time has come. The earth, in her great dance around the sun, has come inevitably to the solstice, the time of extremes, of distance, of darkness and light. In our hemisphere, we experience this time as one of cold darkness, of shortening days and lengthening nights. The earth is tipping, from our perspective, further and further away from the sun. We wait, but the moment when the darkness is greatest is not entirely predictable. The spinning dance of the earth continues, but for one brief instant, when the axis of the Earth's rotation crosses the line through the center of our orbit around the sun, the tipping stops, and for a moment, we seem to stand suspended in space, pulsing with potential movement and ongoing life. Then, like a child's top that almost fell over, we are saved by the spin and lifted up again towards the light.

Copyright: The author has given Unitarian Universalist Association member congregations permission to reprint this piece for use in public worship. Any reprints must acknowledge the name of the author.

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Last updated on Monday, March 25, 2013.

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