On New Year’s day, I had the privilege of gathering with eleven lovely souls in a cozy space in Utah County to celebrate the New Year on the new moon with a powerfully symbolic group meditation.
We also spent a lot of time talking about awesome spiritual things, among them the significance of the new moon. New moons and sabbaths were both considered sacred and special to the ancient Israelites. Jewish law required that certain rituals and sacrifices be performed on the new moon, and it was during the new moon that the gate to the inner court of the temple was opened, and the Lord presented Himself to the people at the gate (see Ezekiel 46:1-3). I like the way Felice explains this in her new moon blogpost: “It seems to me that if we are seeking Him, there is special opportunity on the Sabbath and the New Moon, when He ‘opens the gates to the inner court.'”
Isaiah 66 explains, “I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come, and see my glory. . . . And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord” (vs. 18, 23).
I can’t help but draw a connection between the new moon, the empty womb, and the empty tomb. Each could be viewed through a variety of lenses. Each could be seen in terms of what they lack, but I prefer to see them in terms of what they have given birth to (or will). The new moon gives birth to increasing light. The empty womb has given birth (or will give birth in the future) to a precious new soul. And the empty tomb “gave birth” to the resurrected Christ who “gave birth” to eternal life for all of God’s children. When we look at the new moon, we can choose to rejoice that the waning of the light is over and the brightest light is to come.
I long so much for Christ’s return. So learning about the history and symbolism of the new moon has been especially meaningful for me. I intend to spend each of the coming new moons centering my thoughts and focus on the Savior, celebrating (in advance) the day of His return, seeking His “inner court” and His face, looking toward the increasing light that will come from the Light of the World.
Before we can build the New Jerusalem on earth, we have to build that “city of peace” within ourselves. We have to become the New Lani or the New Marie or the New Jessica… new and improved, with salem/shalom or peace/security/wholeness at our cores. Let’s make 2014 the year that we make great progress in growing Zion within ourselves and our families, when we rejoice in the knowledge that our personal quests for greater light are bringing that future day of joy and triumph closer and closer. O come, O come, Emmanuel!