He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. ( John 1:8, NIV)
I have a necklace that I wear around my neck. There’s a pendant with a moon on it, but not just any moon, it’s the waxing gibbous moon. Waxing Gibbous is the phase when the moon is past half-full but not quite than fully lit–the moon phase at my date of birth.
It’s kind of cool because after being exposed to light for an extended period of time, I can go to a place where there’s no light and the moon on the pendant glows in the dark. I know that scientifically, if the sun was actually physically gone, the moon wouldn’t glow in the dark, but essentially, the fact that my moon pendant glows when you’re not in the sunlight anymore is kind of symbolic of how the real moon shines even when visible sunlight has faded.
I’ve always kind of been partial to the moon. Maybe initially it was because I always tend to enjoy the things that aren’t always seen. The moon comes in phases, so perhaps it had a novelty to me. Maybe it was because it was something I felt was under-appreciated–until I discovered pop culture and apparently the moon is used a lot on merch and in memes and something about how no matter where you are it’s never bigger than your thumb? (Yes, I just referenced Dear John). Maybe it was because I loved the romantic notion of the moon and stars. Maybe I’m a vampire. Regardless, as long as I can remember, the moon has held a special place in my heart.
Sometime last year, I was reading my YouVersion Bible on my smartphone and I came across John 1. In reading through the first several verses, I really appreciated the text. YouVersion offers pre-made verse images to save, and the one they had for John 1:8 had a picture of the moon as a background.
Initially, I thought, “Wow, I really love the quality of that photograph of the moon”. But then I wondered, why did they use a moon in the background for this verse?
My thoughts wandered for a little while and then God impressed me with this perspective (because science):
The moon itself is not a light. No light is emitted from the moon. The moon reflects the light of the sun. It’s a witness to the sun’s light. Even when the sun is no longer visible, we know the sun still exists, because we see the moon shining. The sun emits light, and the earth will never snuff out that light.
Then God impressed me to substitute the moon and the sun for John and Jesus.
John himself was not the light. No light was emitted from John. John reflected the light of the Son (Jesus). He was a witness to the Son’s light. Even when the Son was no longer visible, we know the Son still lives, because John was shining. The Son still shines, and the world will never snuff out His light.
Then God impressed me to substitute my name for John…
I was floored.
Were those statements true? Did I live in such a way that I reflected the Son’s light in my life? For all I knew, I was in a “new moon” phase, where the world obstructed my alignment with the Son so I wasn’t reflecting the light. I could be a mere crescent, reflecting but a portion of the light and the world was still greatly in the way.
But then I looked at my pendant, and while it may be a coincidence, I identified with that tiny Waxing Gibbous moon. I believe that I’m not living half in Christ and half in the world; I believe that I’m not reflecting Christ in its pure fullness–but I’m on my way. I wear that pendant as a reminder of that fact: I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way.
There will be days when I will feel closest to that full moon point, but never perfectly reflective. I’ve probably had a couple of those days in my lifetime. And I’ve had days when I’ve let the world stand in the way of shining well. With prayer and persistence in my faith, I hope I never find my reflecting light receding. But I know that if it does, the Son gives me chance after chance to start a new phase. And I have hope in the knowledge that I will achieve that full completeness only when I’m reunited with my Source of light and all my fellow moons beyond our galaxies. Until then, I will strive to shine with all I can offer.
If you are the sun
Then I wanna be the moon
I wanna reflect the light that shines from You
(Sun & Moon – Phil Wickham)
I pray you find hope in the little reminders of the moon that you can shine as well. I hope and pray that you find your alignment to shine. The Son doesn’t stand still either, so I hope you’re encouraged to know that as you move to find Him, He will move to find you. The world can never stop the Son from shining, therefore have no fear that you won’t find that close-to-perfect alignment. We were made to shine with the Father’s glory. I earnestly hope and pray that I’ll see you beyond our galaxies where we will reach complete fullness with our Source. The world we live in can be so much brighter if we reflect our enlightenment.
Joy and light unto you.
“In [the Son] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.” (John 1: 4-8, NIV adapted)