This morning the sun is shining brightly as I begin my work week. I have one child left at home - she's already a very grown up 14 year old. Sometimes I make her a sandwich; sometimes she makes her own. I go to work or travel to a client in the beautiful sunshine that blesses this land most days of the year.
I live in a country that gets very little, too little, rain. We pray for it every year and don't even expect there's a chance of a single drop for the better part of 8 months. So today's blessing is the sun - no, not as something to worship, but for exactly the reason God gave it to us. The sun rises and give us the promise of a new day. Whatever happened yesterday or in the past, is nothing compared to what can happen today and tomorrow.
The sun guides us through the day and as it sets, it reminds us that we too need to rest; we too need to shut down and focus on other things. On the darkest days, the sun can sometimes pop out for a few minutes or be seen faintly through the clouds. All as a reminder that we are never abandoned. The sun is, in many ways, not just the creation of God, but a constant reminder that He is there and in control.
Judaism goes according to the lunar year with an amazingly accurate concept of an additional month added every amount of years (that I could never calculate) that brings it back in line with the solar year. The normal calendar goes according to the sun, adjusting once every four years with an additional day.
Islam uses the lunar calendar but without the adjustment so their months are not connected to any fixed time; their holidays not connected to seasons. Ramadan, for example, can be in the winter, summer, spring or fall. When it does come, sadly usually as a time of violence and not the peace they claim it to be, it comes at the same time on one of our months and ends at the same time - the lunar month.
For the most part, Christians use the solar calendar and so Christmas comes every year on December 25, while Easter, I believe, is indeed tied to some calculation that brings it in line with Passover.
As my husband and I were born in the States, we both primarily celebrated our solar birthday. Amira was born on Rosh Hashana - how, I asked my husband, could we possibly ignore that holiday as her birthday? And so it began. We celebrate our children's Hebrew birthdays (and sometimes their English one as well so that the period in between becomes a period of honor to that child). Elie was born right before the holiday of Shavuot; Shmulik was born a week after Purim. All this cemented our tradition.
On the solar calendar, today is my husband's birthday and so it seems appropriate to celebrate the sun today.
So, today's blessing is something as simple - and complex - as the sun. Whatever scientific compilation of gases and masses, may God bless the sun and keep it forever there as the focal point of the known universe and may God bless my husband today and every day.