For those ancients who took time to look at the sky each night and remember what they observed, a pattern emerged. The moon would move through different phases in a predictable manner. You could set your ‘calendar’ by these phases -- our word ‘month’ comes from the word for moon. The moon’s cycle, however, is not evenly divisible by another cycle, the earth’s spin around its axis (a day), so there are an uneven number of days (29 ½) in the moon’s cycle and we have to pay attention for new and full moons – coming and going!
It is interesting that when there is no moon to see, it was called the new moon. The new moon was designated as the beginning of the cycle through which the moon would go. The nightly addition of light, sliver by sliver, was how the cycle started. The cycle ended with the light shrinking, not to nothing but to newness – another cycle starting again, another cycle of reflecting the light.
Our calling as Christians – Easter people – is to reflect the light of Christ. Christ’s light shone out of the tomb, Christ’s light shines in the darkness. The moon gives us a good example – constantly reflecting the light of the sun. Yes, the moon is always reflecting the light (except during an eclipse), it is just that sometimes it cannot be seen. In any case, the light of the sun (Son) is still shining. When we call the moon the new moon, we show great faith in the cycle that will again (and again) bring us the light.