Birth of the Sun/Son

Birth of the Sun/Son
A Time for All Ages
Written by Helen Rose
Delivered at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tallahassee
Sunday, December 22, 2019

This is an original Time for All Ages by Helen Rose. Feel free to use for worship with proper credit given to the author. Email Helen with any questions.


  • Does anyone remember what holiday happened yesterday?
    • Yesterday was the Winter Solstice. It’s the shortest and darkest day of the year. Yesterday was Saturday. I don’t know. I want a snack.
  • Right, yesterday was the Winter Solstice. Now, does anyone know whose birthday is celebrated this time of year?
    • Jesus, probably 
  • Christians celebrate Jesus’s birthday with Christmas. (Even though nobody knows what day Jesus was actually born.) There’s also another important birthday that is celebrated this time of year.
  • Thousands of years ago, long before us and long before the time of Jesus, people noticed the patters in nature, like the days becoming shorter in the winter and the cycles of the seasons, but they didn’t have any way to explain it. They didn’t understand the science of nature the way we do now. So, when the winter solstice came, the days were very short, very dark, and in some places, very cold. When the Winter Solstice comes, the sun rises and sets, but it doesn’t really seem to move much in the sky for about three days.
  • So if you didn’t have any knowledge of the science of nature, no way to explain why this is happening, you didn’t have any technology to help you understand it, and your survival depended pretty largely on nature, you’d be pretty scared if the sun didn’t seem to move for three days, right? That would be pretty scary.
  • Well human beings, we like having explanations and answers, and we always have, even thousands of years ago.
  • What happened is that humans began developing rituals to perform when the solstice came. These rituals helped them make sense of what was going on. They might have started as little superstitions, like throwing spilled salt over your shoulder or not stepping on sidewalk cracks and they evolved into really complex mythology associated with the sun.
  • Eventually, stories developed that said the sun died for three days and then returned. On the third day, people celebrated the sun’s rebirth and the promise that spring and summer would return as well. Does that remind you of any other stories?
    • Jesus again. 
  • I think it’s really interesting how much different traditions borrow from one another, and I wonder if you all could help me with a very small solstice ritual of our own right now.
  • Let’s pretend it’s very dark outside. Maybe you feel kind of scared. Maybe you feel kind of alone, or sad, or worried. Does anyone ever feel this way? I feel that way sometimes.
  • I wonder if there’s anything we can do to remember that the sun is coming, that things will feel better again. Does anyone have any ideas?
    • Take 1-2 suggestions from congregation 
  • I know that some people wear symbols or special jewelry, or carry special stones or even have tattoos that remind them to remain hopeful (I mentioned my own chalice tattoo here.) 
  • And all these things are important because they can help us feel more hopeful, but really, we don’t even need them. All we need is… (hold up one finger, probably not your middle one but I’m not your boss) one finger.
  • Can everyone hold up one finger?
  • This is your light, which you carry inside of you. This is your inherent worth and dignity, the part of you that can’t be touched by long, cold days or sad moments or times when you are scared. And it’s always with you.
  • So, if you ever feel cold or sad or alone or like the dark days might last forever, just hold up your little light and remember that the sun is coming. Can you do that?
  • We’re going to sing the children out to This Little Light, and everyone is invited to shine their lights (wave their fingers) as they go.
  • Use “This Little Light” for children’s recessional.

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