I have a young friend who’s in the first grade. We get together every week, usually by Facetime during this pandemic. She reads and does math far above her grade level and has an advanced vocabulary as well. This time she told me a classmate told her we’re living in the Milky Way Galaxy. This was followed by much eye rolling and scoffing.
“Well,” I said trying to break the news gently, “We do live in the Milky Way Galaxy.”
Now she fell on her bed in dramatic exasperation. ‘Give it UP, Joni, give it UP! A galaxy with a candy bar name?” I love the innocence of this age and wish it could last longer.
We all love to look up at the heavens and marvel at the vastness, the beauty, the hand of God. We love our moon and stars, meteor showers, eclipses, and comets.
There is something particularly exciting about a comet passing by. First of all, that it’s passing by and not hitting us. That’s always excellent news. But there’s something else.
The Pons-Winnecke Comet reaches perihelion today, May 27th, that moment when its orbit takes it closest to the sun. Roughly two weeks from now it will approach the earth. We can write June 12th on our calendars and perhaps catch a glimpse of this wonder that circles around every six years or so.
So why am I talking about comets? There’s interesting symbolism with comets because they do a fascinating thing. The sun’s radiation forces particles, dust, and gas to stream out forming a tail, and as the comet follows its orbit, the tail always points away from the sun.
Comets don’t have a head or a face, but we tend to look at them as if they do. Like a fish, they have a tail, and the other end always “faces” the sun. Here’s a Family Home Evening lesson in the heavens: We should always be facing the Son.
What a wonderful reminder of His glory, His Plan of Happiness, and our simple assignment to make Christ the focal point of our lives. He, who with the Father, organized our earth and the galaxies, gave us signs and wonders if we want to see them.
President Thomas S. Monson once said, “As we make Christ the center of our lives, our fears will be replaced by the courage of our convictions.” What a beautiful promise. And Elder Richard G. Scott said, “One of the greatest blessings we can offer to the world is the power of a Christ-centered home where the gospel is taught, covenants are kept, and love abounds.”
Comets are just one small part of this vast world filled with brilliant reminders. From the tiniest molecule in the tiniest seed, to the dazzling exploding stars light years away, we can find meaning.
You can search the internet for other comets and when they’ll be visiting our “neck of the woods.” Maybe make a family excursion of going to an observatory, or having a peek through a friend’s telescope. Something tells me my young friend will be studying astronomy soon and telling me what to find! God’s handiwork is everywhere. We just need to look.
Hilton’s books, humor blog, and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Inter-Faith Specialist for Church Communications.