Although summer has always been my favorite time of year, for many Autumn is their uncontested favorite. There is a feel about it, distinctiveness to its aura. There are some reasons for Autumn’s captivating attraction: the colors of leaves resembling the brilliance of rainbows, cool nights and warm blankets, early to bed with no guilt since its dark by 7:00, the disappearance of many bugs, the dissipation of humidity, autumn’s smell permeating the air, new television shows, a fresh new school year, and the convergence of Football season along with the World Series, not to mention apple cider, bonfire’s, hay rides, pumpkins, and the glee of watching children dress up for Trick or Treat. Then along comes Thanksgiving, a nostalgic reminder that God has indeed “shed His grace on thee.” No wonder, just as the pumpkins grow larger, our hearts overflow.
I would challenge us to think of Autumn as a season of reflection. Time to gain new perspective. To stroll along the back roads of our minds. To think about what. And where. And why. During this time of foliage change, weather changes, birds making their annual journey southward and squirrels storing their nuts, perhaps it’s a perfect time for reflection.
Robert Frost, the poet, alluded to the reality that Autumn leads us to ask the question “Are we ready for the winter of life?” Are we prepared for the difficult days that are sure to come in the months ahead? Do you have adequate spiritual provisions laid in store that will support us when the cold winds of life blow and the world starts reeling around us? When that illness strikes, or the unexpected death of a loved one occurs, or financial struggle ensues, have preparations been made that will sustain us? Have we given thought to and come to grips with the big questions of life having to do with illness and suffering, trouble and death?
Yet another lesson of the Autumn season is that change is inevitable. Today I thought to myself as I look at a deep blue sky with leaves full of glory and pumpkins on porches “Can’t it just stay like this until Christmas—then let the cold and snow come in January?” I don’t want or need it to change. But we all know it will change. Flowers die, leaves fall, and winter sets in. As much as we would like things to stay the same in our lives we know they can’t. Children grow up and leave home, parents grow old and pass away, THINGS CHANGE. The physical beauty and handsomeness we knew as young adults fades—a little. A good friend moves away. A career ends. The earlier in life we can come to understand that change is normal and expected and accepted, the better we will get along.
Another lesson autumn holds before us is to enjoy the beauty of each day—to live in the Today of Today. No two autumn days are exactly alike. The sky will vary each day. Even the leaves will be different as their colors change and eventually fall to the ground. Each Autumn day is a fresh invitation to sit and enjoy the beauty of that day which creation gives us. Taking the time to watch the leaves turn is part of the lost art of mindfulness.
Finally, when thinking about the beauty that trees bring to the season of Autumn, I think of this old timeless truth…”The roots grow deep when the winds are strong.” Seasons of reflection and seasons of experience in life will deepen our roots. We can count on it. The Lord specializes in deepening and strengthening those who seek Him. He is sovereignly and compassionately at work in us. Philippians 1:6 assures us …”For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” This promise empowers us to boldly declare “Come wind, come weather, welcome autumn!”