By the Light of the Moon


Thoughts at Christmas Time
Part Two of Four


“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” —Matthew 1:21 NIV

The full moon lit the way as I walked over clumps of frozen grass in a ditch alongside the Interstate. My heart pounded as I prayed, “Please, God, get me to a pay phone. Protect me. Keep me hidden so no one stops.” It was 1988, and my car had broken down on the way home from the mall. I was a mile from the next exit and a decade away from owning a cell phone. Praying the entire twenty-plus minutes, I stared at the moon, thankful for the light so I could see—and thankful for the new sneakers I had just purchased so I didn’t have to walk in dress shoes. Cars whizzed by me as I trudged through the gully, hoping no one would see me. When I finally reached the phone booth, I breathed a deep sigh of relief and called a friend to see if she could take me home.

God saved me that night. I don’t know what lurked in the darkness, but He saved me from it. Yes, He could have kept my car from breaking down. I know that. But God planted a seed of faith that evening that would sprout and bloom into true faith in Jesus nine years later. I didn’t accept Christ as my Savior at that time, but I did come to know God as The One Who Saves.

For this reason, I believe the words “because He will save His people from their sins” are among the most beautiful sentences in the Bible. Jesus came, bringing the reality of Heaven to earth by making Himself visible and vulnerable. Jesus entered the physical world He created to demonstrate how much He loved His creation by revealing the Father’s love for all to see.

In contrast, my sin was dark and hidden. I was oblivious to it. After all, I was a good person and, compared to others, reasonably kind. Certainly, I was going to Heaven. But I hadn’t seen my sin in the light of God’s holiness until the full moon of His love guided me to Himself. Nine years after my evening stroll along the highway, God revealed my selfishness, self-righteousness, and all the ugliness I had stuffed inside. In a way, an illuminated path of frozen grass led me to the phone booth all over again. Except, instead of a phone booth, it was a throne. I was like a child in His presence, knowing I wasn’t good enough to be there, and yet I was deeply loved—and protected by that same love. You see, trusting Jesus results from the gift of Christmas given two thousand years ago. God sent His son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Why? Because He loves the entire world. Every person who ever lived, God loves and died for.

Do you think this seems far-fetched? Perhaps, like I did, you think you are a good person. But the shocking news is that there are no good people. We are inherently selfish, sinful beings. We might not call that fair, considering we did not disobey God in the garden. But we would have. Given a choice, we always choose us. God made us frail vessels. Then, He offered us His hand in marriage. To have and to hold forever. If you open the door, He will come in and fill your heart. His Spirit will permeate your soul with so much love that you cannot help but share it.

This Christmas, consider opening the gift of God’s Son Jesus. Invite Him inside and allow Him to free you from all your burdens and remove your sins. In exchange, He asks for your trust. Even if there have been people in your life who were not trustworthy, know that God is not a man that He should lie. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is faithful and always loving. Yes, your sins will be forgiven, and you will spend eternity with Jesus. But even better, you get to spend today with Him! He is the only Way to the Life you have been craving.

Father, thank you for Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray for everyone I know and love to know and love You. Enlighten them and give them eyes to see and ears to hear how dearly they are loved and cherished. May you fill them with joy and peace as they trust in You even today. Amen.

Merry Christmas!


This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about:
His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph,
but before they came together,
she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law,
and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace,
he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this,
an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife,
because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
—Matthew 1:18-25 NIV

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and
peace in believing, that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NJKV).

Marlene McKenna



Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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