rn: Solstice moon, Christmas


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

I like to send you something of a "Christmas present" around this time of
year; these two postings fill the bill I think.

Loving best wishes to us all and to the earth and its beings! 
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 1999 12:33:27 -0500
To: •••@••.•••
From: "Mike Nickerson, Inviting Debate" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Brighter than you think.

        This will be a very special Winter Solstice.

Should be a bright Christmas this year:
"... This year will be the first full moon to occur on the winter solstice,
Dec. 22, commonly called the first day of winter. Since a full moon on the
winter solstice occurs in conjunction with a lunar perigee (point in the
moon's orbit that is closest to Earth), the moon will appear about 14%
larger than it does at apogee (the point in it's elliptical orbit that is
farthest from the Earth). Since the Earth is also several million miles
closer to the sun at this time of the year than in the summer, sunlight
striking the moon is about 7% stronger making it brighter. Also, this will
be the closest perigee of the Moon of the year since the moon's orbit is
constantly rotating. If the weather is clear and there happens to be a snow
cover where you live, the ambient light level will be very high. On 21 Dec
1866, the Dakota Sioux took advantage of this combination of occurrences and
staged a devastating ambush on soldiers in the Wyoming Territory.
In laymen's terms it will be a super bright full moon, much brighter than
usual AND it hasn't happened this way for 133 years! Our ancestors 133 years
ago saw this. Our descendants 100 or so years from now will see it again.
... enjoy this special season greeting ...."


        "The rule of no realm is mine, but all worthy things
that are in peril as the world now stands, those are my care.
And for my part, I shall not wholly fail in my task if anything
passes through this night that can still grow fair or bear fruit
and flower again in days to come.  For I too am a steward.
Did you not know?"
                                The Return of the King
                                J.R.R. Tolkien


Inviting Debate
P.O. Box 374, Merrickville
Ontario, Canada, K0G 1N0
(613) 269-3500           Fax: (613) 269-4693

Date:   Fri, 11 Dec 1998 08:38:22 -0400 (AST)
From: Susan Lilley <•••@••.•••>
Subject: A Christmas Story

Below is a lovely Christmas story sent to chpna-connect by David "lobie"
Daughton in PEI. It may be a good one to read and think about, before
heading out to the shops this weekend! Thank you so much David, for this
and all your other thoughtful contributions to the list over the past

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Christmas Envelope

It's just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our
Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked
through the branches of our tree for the past 10 years or so.

It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas -- oh, not the true
meaning of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it like overspending, the
frantic running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry
and the dusting powder for Grandma -- the gifts given in desperation because you
couldn't think of anything else.

Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts,
sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike.
The inspiration came in an unusual way. Our son Kevin, who was 12 that
year, was wrestling at the junior level at the school he attended; and shortly
before Christmas, there was a non-league match against a team sponsored by an
inner-city church, mostly black. These youngsters, dressed in sneakers so
ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them together,
presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold uniforms
and sparkling new wrestling shoes.

As the match began, I was alarmed to see that the other team was wrestling
without headgear, a kind of light helmet designed to protect a wrestler's
ears. it was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well,
we ended up walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of
their boys got up from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false
bravado, a kind of street pride that couldn't acknowledge defeat.

Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, "I wish just one of them could
have won," he said. "They have a lot of potential, but losing like this
could take the heart right out of them." Mike loved kids -- all kids -- and he
knew them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse.

That's when the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local
sporting goods store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and
shoes and sent them anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I
placed the envelope on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done
and that this was his gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about
Christmas that year and in succeeding years.

For each Christmas, I followed the tradition -- one year sending a group of
mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check
to a pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week
before Christmas, and on and on.  The envelope became the highlight of our
Christmas. It was always the last thing opened on Christmas morning and our
children, ignoring their new toys, would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as
their dad lifted the envelope from the tree to reveal its contents.  As the
children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the envelope
never lost its allure.

The story doesn't end there. You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded
cancer. When Christmas rolled around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I
barely got the tree up. But Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope
on the tree, and in the morning, it was joined by three more.  Each of our
children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the tree for
their dad.

The tradition has grown and someday will expand even further with our
grandchildren standing around the tree with wide-eyed anticipation watching as
their fathers take down the envelope...

May we all remember the Christmas spirit this year and always.

Jan Slakov, Weymouth, NS, Canada B0W 3T0 
 CDR (Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance) home page ->


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