Friday, December 25, 2015

The Full Cold Moon

Tonight, Christmas night, was to be an especially memorable one as we looked up at the heavens. It was the night of the first full cold moon since 1977. This means that if you are younger than 38, tonight was the first time in your lifetime there had ever been a full moon on Christmas Day.

Now, it’s not like we’ve never seen a full moon before. So, what makes this one so special? I guess I could dive into some facts about how rare this occurrence is and what scientists say about it. Instead, I think I’ll just share what this moon meant to me.

Today, Christmas Day, we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Savior long prophesied about during Old Testament times, God in the flesh, come to us on Earth, wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.

How can I even begin to capture the wonder of the birth of Jesus? Can you imagine being there in Bethlehem that night? Can you imagine being one of the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night? Can you imagine hearing all that the angel said of that baby born of the Virgin Mary? Can you imagine seeing the little baby that one day would die for all our sins? Can you imagine?

Even now, can you fathom it? Can you fathom what God has done for us? Can you fathom the fact that a little a baby boy would grow into a wonderful teacher and leader? Can you fathom that baby boy growing into the man that was nailed, hands and feet, to the cross, to take our sins? Can you fathom that He did not stay in the grave, but rose again? Can you fathom the grace that pours down on us like rain from heaven above? Can you fathom that through Him, we have purpose, we have hope, we have love, and we have joy?

I will never be able to fully understand the depths and wonders of God’s majesty and all that He has done for us through Jesus. I do know one thing though, I can feel it. I feel what God has done. The good that I see in people, the beauty of the rolling foothills around me, the sweet melody in a song, the bright stars twinkling above me, they all make me feel it. It’s that warm, mushy feeling you get way down deep inside. The feeling that tells you that you belong, that you are loved, and you are worth it.

Now, for me, I especially get that feeling when I sit outside late at night just looking up at the moon and stars. I love living in the middle of nowhere, because I can see so many. It’s like the longer I look, the more stars I find. I look at the sky and I am just amazed by God. So, I guess it should make sense when I say I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the birth of Jesus than with a very rare full moon.

Well, the moon was definitely there, but if you’re like me, you might have missed it. We missed it behind the clouds. It’s been raining here almost nonstop all week. When the rain finally died down today, I was hopeful I might catch the moon. As night closed in around me, I didn’t see the clouds moving in any sort of hurry though. They looked like they were there to stay.

I was pretty bummed out. I could see the moon trying to get through. It was lighting the clouds up in different hues. I went outside after supper to take something across the street, and I almost jokingly said, “C’mon man!”, as if God would move the clouds just briefly for me. I just wanted to see that moon.

Then, the strangest thing happened. I turned around to walk back up the driveway, and the path seemed a little brighter. I looked up and immediately shouted in pure joy. There was a gap in the clouds just big enough for me to see that full moon in all of its beautiful glory proclaiming our Savior’s birth.

I ran in the house to tell my mom, and when I went back out, the moon was already gone.

I started to think about the moon a little more, and how it’s not just fitting to celebrate the marvelous birth, it’s even more.

The moon reminds me of how it is with God sometimes. Sometimes, we want so desperately to feel His presence, to have a sense of security in the path we’re on, to feel like we’ve got it figured out. We don’t always have that clarity. Sometimes, it’s cloudy. Maybe we get a brief glimpse, but the clouds seem to block our view. The thing of it is, God, just like the moon, is always there. Even in those dark places, those hard times, He is there. He is breaking through that darkness and bringing hope in those hard times. I’m convinced that we can’t just see Him and seek Him through a clear sky, we must see Him and seek Him through the clouds. He is always there, and He never fails.

He put that moon in the sky. That moon is the very same moon that shone over that manger so long ago. Think about for a second. The moon that shines over us, shone over Jesus.

Wow! God did that. God does that. God will do that. God loved. God loves. God will love. He is the God of the past, present, and future. He is a good, good Father. Rest in Him friends. In Him, there is peace, there is hope, and there is love. Run to Him, and let Him transform you. Then show the world what He’s all about. He is our moon, always breaking through.