Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter Solstice

These pictures are of Newgrange, which is one of the passage tombs in County Meath, Ireland. It is one of the most famous prehistoric sites in the world and the most famous of all Irish prehistoric sites. Newgrange was built in such a way that at dawn on the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice, a narrow beam of sunlight for a very short time illuminates the floor of the chamber at the end of the long passageway. I find this a fascinating place, one for it sheer oldness, being over 5,000 years old and two for the ingenuity of those ancient people to figure out how to build such a structure to catch the suns rays as a way of finding hope on the bleakest of days. Click here to read more about Newgrange.

On this, the shortest day of the year, take heart and look for the light. We likely will not see it come through a little opening of an ancient structure but we will see it all around us in the people who surround us. How appropriate that this day always falls during our liturgical season of Advent, when we are watching and waiting for The Light. As we make our way through this day we also are encouraged that after this day the days begin to get longer and we can look forward to spring!

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