A blue moon is the second full moon that occurs within the same calendar month. The first full moon this month was on December 2. According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac newsletter, a blue moon happens only every two and a half to three years.
The newsletter also says that the “expression seems to derive from the extremely rare, actually blue-tinged Moon caused by atmospheric layers of forest fire smoke or volcanic dust at just the right height and visual angle.”
This morning’s moon looks silver in the picture (above) I took with the regular setting and gold in the picture (below) I took with the telephoto setting.
By the time I got outside about 5:30 am, it was already descending into the branches of the trees on our west bank. After yesterday’s cloudy and snowy weather, I was glad to be able to see it.
Seeing the bright orb of the moon light the night always reminds me of the first four verses in Psalm 8:
O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all
You have set your glory above the heavens.
Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
That Psalm reminds me of God’s creative power, his sustaining power over creation, and the link he has ordained between creation and man—the pinnacle of creation. It reminds me of God’s covenantal care for his people.
The full moon also displays God’s control over time and how he uses the moon to mark the months. Psalm 104:19 says:
He made the moon to mark the seasons;
the sun knows its time for setting.
At this time of year, when we bid farewell to the old year and welcome the new, the full moon reminds me of the progression of years. It makes me keenly aware of the need to instruct our children and our children’s children in the ways of the Lord.
My prayer echoes that of Solomon’s in Psalm 72, in which he prays that God will grant him wisdom and will grant blessing and deliverance to God’s people. In verse 5, he connects the progression of time with the growth of faith in the hearts of God’s people:
May they fear you while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
Solomon’s prayer acknowledges that the sun and the moon will not last forever. John’s description of his vision in Revelation 21:22-23 reiterates their temporary nature as he beautifully conveys the glory of our final home:
And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty
and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the
glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
As this day and this year draws to a close, we are one day and one year nearer to that great and final day of our Lord.
When you’re out and about this evening, celebrating the end of 2009 and welcoming 2010, set your mind on things above and look for the blue moon.