by Jane Hirshfield
"The lake scarlets
the same instant as the maple.
Let others try to say this is not passion."
A few days ago I hung a wreath on our front door announcing a new season. This is my favorite time of year; cooler days, the sun sits lower, sets earlier and provides lovely sunsets, the house seems cozier and I start looking for my big soup pot.
The baseball season is winding down, football is starting and the kids are back in school. Life slips from the easy going summer days into days that are more structured. I may fight it, but I think I like structure. During the time we lived in Raleigh, North Carolina, I spent many hours trying to get the reddish dirt washed out of son Gerry's football uniform so it could be sparkling white for the next game. Watching our son's football games and raking leaves were a part of this season.
Having lived in California most of my life, I was overwhelmed by the gorgeous fall foliage on the east coast. The brilliant colors of the leaves took my breath away. I think God provides this 'shock and awe' show to give us a glimpse of all that He can do to make life beautiful. But soon, cold, white-washed days of winter, with little evidence of life, will be a reality for much of the world. Most of us have discovered, even 'the dead of winter' has a beauty we can enjoy. King Solomon wrote...
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." Ecclesiastes 3:11
My husband remembers October in Michigan when his parents would put the family in the car and drive out to the Old Franklin Cider Mill for freshly made apple cider and hot donuts. I remember my mother making the best, stickiest candy apples in the world. There is something so special about the combination of sour, crunchy apples and sweet sticky candy.
Our home at this very moment is filled with the aroma of pork chops simmering in onion soup with carrots, apples and red potatoes. I'm tempted to share some recipes, but this isn't a cooking blog.
The Lord has used nature as an example of what is to come for the believer. Those beautiful colored leaves we enjoy so much are in the process of dying; they will fall, be swept up into the trash or burned in a pile. They are dead, gone. And then spring comes and there is new life all around us. Trees sprout new leaves, flowers spring up and the brown grass comes alive in varying shades of green. So it will be for us; we will die, be gone from this earth and then come alive again, in a new body, for all eternity.
Why do we focus so much on death and dying, or on our failures and frustrations, instead of the new eternal life promised to us? Perhaps it's because we can see and experience the death and dying, but the new life isn't visible. We need to look with eyes of faith and believe in what is unseen, 2 Corinthians 4:18...
"So we fix our eyes on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
Also, we need to trust God's promises - new life, the old is gone, the new has come when He fills us with His Holy Spirit - 2 Corinthians 5:17,
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone the new has come."
Most of us who read the Bible are aware of the passage in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3..."There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven...God has set in place a worldly order. As with all concepts and principles God has laid out in His Word, He repeats them and teaches the same truth in a different way in another passage. He knows our limitations and created our minds. He will find a way to reach each one of His children so they can see His truth.
God has planned our seasons and has a purpose for each one.
"As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter
day and night
will never cease." Genesis 8:22
Halloween is almost synonymous with fall. Everywhere around the country this time of year you'll see fields of pumpkins waiting to be harvested and carved into jack-o-lanterns. Young children are dreaming of the costumes they'd like to wear when they go 'trick or treating' around the neighborhood. And, many Christian parents wonder if they should participate in this holiday. When questions like this become an issue, it's always good to read Romans Chapter 14. This is a very interesting passage on ‘weak faith’ versus ‘strong faith’, see verses 22 -23.
“Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.
… everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
We seldom hear this verse read; a different definition of the word - faith.
We have always let our children join the fun of Halloween. We are not celebrating evil witches and wicked monsters. We are participating in a holiday that is enjoyed and fun to prepare for. Halloween and its traditions have evolved from 'All Saints Day' and have Christian roots. I wrote about the history of Halloween in a blog posted on 10/29/11 under the title "Halloween and Christians". You can read this blog in the archives.
Thank you Lord for being my inspiration to keep blogging. Just when I think I want to stop, you send someone who tells me how much they enjoy reading what You have given me to share...so I keep going. Help us to focus on your promise of a new life, not our failure. Thank you for this incredibly beautiful time of year. Only You can paint with such an exquisite palate of colors.