Sunset and Moonrise at Ottawa Beach

On a beautiful evening in September, Tom and I walked down to Ottawa Beach to see the sunset.  The day had been clear and warm and the evening promised more of the same, with no clouds in the sky.  I took my “good” camera (not my cell phone) hoping to get some really good pictures of the lighthouse, the harbor, and the sunset.

We were not alone in our desire to see the sunset.  Hundreds of other people had also walked down to Ottawa Beach for the same purpose.  The causeway out to the harbor entrance had so many people that Tom and I elected to stand across the harbor entrance from the lighthouse.

The Big Red Lighthouse is very popular in Holland.  You can find shirts with the lighthouse on them.  The Holland Michigan website says it is the most photographed lighthouse in Michigan.  Judging from the sheer number of people on the beach that evening, I would say they are probably right.  The first lighthouse in this location was built in 1870.  It was expanded and improved over the years.  When it was decommissioned in 1971, the Holland Harbor Lighthouse Historical Commission took over operation.  Although the Coast Guard inspects and maintains the light, the building itself it maintained by the Historical Commission.

Tom and I staked out a spot where we had a good view of the lighthouse, the harbor entrance, and the sunset.  We were amazed at the number of boats that were going in and out of the harbor at that time of day.  After all, before long it would be dark.  Many of the ships appeared to be heading out for some fishing.  Most of them, however, were filled with people who wanted to watch the sunset from the deck of their boat.

We stood in our spot for close to an hour and I took lots of pictures.  Then, when the sun was completely set and most of the color had bled from the sky, we turned toward our RV.  Only then did we notice a brilliant orange moon rising in the opposite direction.  I had no idea that it was almost the full moon that night.  The moonrise was as spectacular as the sunrise and totally unexpected.  We had expected one gift from God – the beautiful sunset – and were surprised to receive another – the moonrise.

I have lots of beautiful pictures and some wonderful memories of our sunset and moonrise at Ottawa Beach.  Here are some of the pictures, interspersed with some Bible verses and a few other quotes about lighthouses.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.  John A. Shedd

“Anxiously you ask, ‘Is there a way to safety? Can someone guide me? Is there an escape from threatened destruction?’ The answer is a resounding yes! I counsel you: Look to the lighthouse of the Lord. There is no fog so dense, no night so dark, no gale so strong, no mariner so lost but what its beacon light can rescue. It beckons through the storms of life. It calls, ‘This way to safety; this way to home.”  Thomas S. Monson

“I feel that we’re all lighthouses, and my job is to shine my light as brightly as I can to the darkness.”― Jim Carrey


Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.  Micah 7:8
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 
Psalm 139:7-12
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.  Revelation 21:23


To Him who made the great lights,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting:
The sun to rule by day,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting,
The moon and stars to rule by night,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.  Psalm 139:7-9