I have a new granddaughter. Her name is Aylin which means moonlight in Turkish.
There is something undeniably beautiful and feminine about the moon. It is mysterious and cyclical, like a woman’s fertility. Its light is soft and gentle.
The Lord gave the moon as the lesser light, “to rule the night, and to divide light from darkness.” He appointed the moon as a sign “for seasons, for days and for years.” Every new moon on the Jewish calendar was to be marked by special sacrifices, and every feast is numbered by the days of the moon.
But the moon is more than a marker for the calendar; it is a symbol of Israel’s mystical motherhood. As a young man, Joseph had a dream in which the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowed down to him. His father Jacob understood the dream immediately. He, the father, was the sun. Joseph’s mother was the moon. The eleven stars were his brothers. But ten of the eleven were half brothers. If we understand that this dream speaks to the future of God’s chosen people, then the moon symbolizes all the mothers of the twelve tribes – Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah.
John the Beloved also had a vision of a mother and a moon.
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth….. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
The Child, of course, is Jesus, the Messiah. The woman is Mary. And Israel. And the Church.
The moon is a fitting symbol for God’s people. We have no light of our own. We can only reflect the light of our Lord. He alone is the source of light. He alone is truly good. But if we are willing to be His, He will clothe us in His light and let us shine for the world to see.
There are times in history when God has directly revealed His light to men. A pillar of fire led the Israelites through the sea. Mt. Sinai trembled in thunder and lightning as God spoke with Moses. Jesus shone like the sun on the mountain of Transfiguration. And John the Beloved fell on the ground like a dead man when he saw Jesus in his glory. Jesus will come again in glory, in a flash like lightning, “and all flesh will see it together.”
Now it is night. We are waiting for the morning. It is time for the Church to shine and bear witness to the True Light. It is time for her to put off everything that does not reflect the glory of her Lord. It is the time for her to take her place, under the authority of her Husband, and divide the light from the darkness.
Little Aylin, may you shine always in the beautiful of light of your Lord!