Tonight I bought a moon cake from a mermaid.
Though I wish I could say I bought this traditional Chinese pastry from Ariel from Disney’s “Little Mermaid,” that isn’t quite true. I bought one with a coffee filling from Starbucks. The Starbucks mermaid was imprinted on top instead of Chinese characters.
Today is the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival, a harvest celebration that commemorates the end of the fall harvest season. The date changes based on the lunar calender. This moon festival is thousands of years old and is celebrated in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines. It’s celebrated some in Thailand too.
I’ve been a part of Mid-Autumn Festivals since my family moved overseas when I was two and half years old. My parents have pictures of my grinning cheesy-ly and holding a cute lantern.
Families will traditionally eat moon cakes and admire the harvest moon. They’ll also carry lanterns and light and release other lanterns. It’s similar to Thailand’s Loy Kratong festival that takes place every November. Dragon dances are also involved as is incense-burning and worship.
I didn’t do any dancing or lantern lighting tonight, though that would have been fun. I took my moon cake and went to my apartment’s roof to admire the moon.
For some reason, tonight I kept thinking of the quote from George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary,” George said.
Mary then replies:
“I’ll take it. Then what?”
“Well, then you can swallow it, and it’ll all dissolve, see… and the moonbeams would shoot out of your fingers and your toes and the ends of your hair… am I talking too much?” George asked.
Tonight though, the moon was shrouded by clouds. No super-duper lasso would have roped it.
I did see a few lanterns floating upward though. They reminded me of fireflies who seemed to be following an invisible treasure map to the moon. They weren’t headed toward the moon, but they ascended anyway.
Finally, I happened to catch a quick glimpse of the moon. The clouds removed their veil long enough for me to behold the moon. It’s there, even though I couldn’t see it. It’s like a bride who lifts her veil at just the right moment.
It reminded me of our relationship with God. We’re like the lanterns, we fix our gaze above and move forward in faith. Sometimes in life it feels like we can’t see or hear God. During trials and hard times it seems like He is far away. He’s there, He always is. We ascend and trust with the path that’s been shown to us. This teaches us faith and perseverance.
It’s awesome when you have those mountain-top experiences where you see the moon and life is clear. What’s harder is following the treasure map from the valley. But it’s oh-s0 worth it.
It’s like the ending of a murder mystery TV show or book.
I really like murder mysteries. I grew up reading Agatha Christie and watching Diagnosis Murder with Dick Van Dyke. My family watches Midsomer Murders, a BBC mystery series, and we watch House and Monk. There’s something about the mystery and suspense that’s always fascinated me about this genre. I like trying to figure out “who done it.” You follow the clues and piece them together to see the whole picture. When it’s over, you have the satisfaction of seeing all the pieces fit and you have the answer to why everything happened the way it did.
This life is like a murder mystery, sans the murder. We follow the commands and instructions given in the Bible and the revelations He gives us until we reach heaven. This is the conclusion and resolution. Then, all the pieces, places and people in our life will make sense. We’ll understand our Father completely and worship Him always.
What an awesome day that will be.
It truly is a wonderful life. God’s been so gracious and good to me recently, as He’s always been. It’s been an awesome treasure hunt so far and I’m excited to move forward and learn more about life’s mysteries and the God who created life.