Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's Been Almost 400 Years!! Solstice Eclipse

Wow--I love it when rare things happen. Were you up early this morning to enjoy a rare, once in a lifetime event? (Actually, once in a lot of lifetimes?)

A Lunar Eclipse coinciding with the Winter Solstice--something that has not happened in 372 years.

Lunar Eclipse
I also learned a new word--selenelion. Look that one up!  According to a BBC News Article, a selenelion, occurs when the sun and the eclipsed moon can be seen at the same time.  Of course, you had to be in Ireland or the UK to see that this time--but I had never even thought about an eclipsed moon and the sun being visible at the same time, let alone there being a word for it. That happens a lot more frequently.  There is an interesting article: In Search of Selenelion, which provides a story of one person's search for this elusive occurrence.

But the eclipse with the winter solstice is even more fascinating.

In olden times, it might have been thought to one of those signs in the heavens. Probably not a good sign, either. Panic may have ensued as the populace feared for their lives when the moon turned blood red and disappeared. Although, after a short time, it reappeared.

Now, we rational and scientifically minded people sleep through it. It is a well understood event, barely worth noting. A cool coincidence. It was cold outside and in the "wee" hours of the morning when only the night workers are awake and the lonely soldiers are on duty guarding their positions. I'm sure there were clouds. Somewhere. But in my area it was clear and a million mile visibility. Fortunately, Chris woke me up and I went outside to view the blood red moon at about 3:00 AM.

There are three interesting Bible verses which mention the moon turning to the color of blood:

Joel 2:31:
The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the color of blood, before the day of the Lord comes – that great and terrible day!  -NET bible

Acts 2:20
The sun will be changed to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. --NET Bible

Revelations 6:12
Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair,  and the full moon became blood red; --NET Bible

I wonder what the prophets who wrote each of these saw in their mind as they wrote these words--was it an eclipse? What was God putting in their minds that they were trying to describe?

What will today bring as this Christmas Season continues towards its finale.  What does this sign in the heavens, similar to the star so many centuries ago, foretell? 

It is a sign. We should take note of this sign. It can be a sign of peace or war. It can be a sign of feast or famine. It is a sign--He is coming, quickly. Like A thief. And we celebrate his arrival for he first time this very week

(Look! I will come like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays alert and does not lose his clothes so that he will not have to walk around naked and his shameful condition be seen.)  Revelations 16:15 --NET Bible

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