Thursday, December 23, 2010

Full Moon, Lunar Eclipse Family Home Evening

Monday night was the full moon and also that night was the lunar eclipse. Because of our effort to teach our children nature appreciation and to find the Spirit in the beauty of the earth, it was the perfect Family Home Evening activity and lesson.

We started by going outside to look up at the moon. We talked about how the moon changed appearance throughout the month and why that night, we could see the perfect sphere of the full moon.

We sang the hymn "For The Beauty of the Earth" and a la Heather at Mutual Approbation, we sang the verses like this:
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,
God, Our Father, we now raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.
For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow’r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,
God, Our Mother, we now raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,
Christ, Our Brother, we now raise,
This our hymn of grateful praise.
After a prayer, the four of us went on a walk under the full moon.

We were fortunate that the clouds had cleared at this time because it had been cloudy earlier in the evening. After getting home, it was time for a treat and then bed.

My husband and I had been planning on getting the children to sleep so we could go outside and watch the lunar eclipse together, but Willem and Belle were not going for that plan. At a certain point once it started getting close to when the eclipse was starting, we gave up getting them to bed. Then, of course, Belle hit the point of "Bed, now!" right as it was starting. While Peter laid down to get her to sleep, Willem and I went outside and were able to watch the shadow of the sun cross the moon.

We had some sweet mama and son time while he sat cuddled on my lap and we watched the moon and talked about what we were seeing. I truly believe he understood (we had done solar system models of the moon/earth orbit with him before, and the Eric Carle book "Papa, Please Get the Moon For Me" helped him to understand the phases.)

Once the moon was completely covered by the lunar shadow, the clouds started to roll in. For 15 minutes or so, we could catch brief twinkles of the darkened moon from behind the clouds. Peter came out to join us and we sat happily as a family for a while until it became clear that we were not going to be seeing the moon again that night for the cloud cover.

We were able to reminiscence on the last lunar eclipse we had viewed together. (It was when Willem was a year old and we took a walk down to the edge of Lake Washington to view it.)

With that, and by that time, Willem was really showing signs of needing to sleep, we all went inside to bed. Later in the night, I went back out to check if by chance I could see it as the shadow moved away but by that time it was cloudy and rainy.

So the next day, I had to content myself from seeing the eclipse in time-lapse from the perspective of a Floridian:


TopHat said...

I love your version of For the Beauty of the Earth. Maybe I'll reference it in the future- I have the rest of the week's posts already scheduled (what with Christmas and all).

And I love your lunar eclipse FHE. Awesome possum. :)

Descent said...

You are welcome to the version of it. Lord has always bothered me in it, if one is to assume its LORD/Christ/Jehovah. Given that I sang that hymn as a UU, I had also felt that Lord was closer to Lord and Lady type Lord referring to deity. In that case, Lord likely refers to God the Father and its just equal to then transpose it to read God the Mother as well.