When was the last time you stepped outside and gasped in wonder at an enormous, golden harvest moon? Hopefully you did so on September 12, when I reminded you. If not, you’ll have to wait an entire year for the next one. The good thing is: harvest moons are worth the wait.
But how could such a grand cosmic event occur? The moon was just sitting there in the sky last night; nothing unusual; respectfully doing its job of lighting the sky; not overpowering it.
It’s as if God decided one evening to make a point; to show us His power; to remind us that He is in charge.
The science behind a harvest moon is fairly straight forward.
A harvest moon is the full moon closest on the calendar to the autumnal equinox, when the tilt of the earth and its relationship to the sun are just right. Often, the harvest moon appears bigger and brighter or more colorful than other full moons, even though of course, it’s really the same moon.
· It appears larger because of our visual receptors perceive a low-hanging moon to be larger than one that's high in the sky.
· The warm orange color results from the light reflected from the moon passing through more atmospheric particles this one time of year than when the moon is typically overhead. The atmosphere scatters the bluish part of the moonlight but allows the reddish light to travel a straighter path to our eyes.
Science aside, a harvest moon can take your breath away.
It’s as if God placed the sky into a heavenly Photoshop program and clicked the plus sign, bringing the moon closer to us, bringing us closer to Him and reminding us of His glory. It’s as if God is saying:
I AM right here.
I AM closer than you remember.
I AM closer than you will ever know.
We’ve all grown up with stories about the “man in the moon.” There are songs and poems and stories reminding us that when we look at the shining orb, sometimes we can imagine the face of a man.
But in reality, that man in the moon? It’s Jesus. And a harvest moon is reminder that Jesus is Lord of the harvest. Shine on!
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for the reminders in nature of your glory. Help us to remember that you are closer than we can even imagine. Remind us, Jesus, that you are Lord of the Harvest. Holy Spirit, work in us to live lives worthy of your plan. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you remember the first time you saw a harvest moon? What did you think?