It's hard to decide, but I think autumn is my favorite season. God seems to outdo Himself in His creation when He splashes the foliage with gorgeous, brilliant colors. Retirees who have moved to the so-called "sun-belt" often complain that they miss the change of seasons. I grew up in
Botanists tell us that leaves closest to the SUN turn color first. The color travels down a mountain side at the rate of 100 feet a day—if anyone cares to know. The autumn of life, our mature years, can be the most beautiful of life’s seasons if we live close to Jesus, the SON. Our advancing years don't need to be a retreating, declining, dimming, fading time spiritually. Potentially, our mature years can be a sharpening, focusing, distilling period of fruit-bearing for God.
Luscious apples, peaches, and other fruits ripen in the autumn. What can compare to the fragrance of ripened fruit? Have you noticed how early in summer the empty wooden crates are set out among the apple trees in the orchards? I've seen them as early as the first blossoms, long before the tiny apples are visible. The farmer anticipates them, counts on the natural course of fruit-bearing. Likewise, the Lord expects fully ripened fruit from us older but still growing Christians. Let's not disappoint Him!
Jesus talked a lot about fruit-bearing to His disciples, and his words apply to us as well. He wants us not only to bear fruit, but more fruit, and MUCH fruit. Perhaps that progression may also apply to different stages of our lives. When we were younger Christians, we bore some fruit for Him; in mid-years we may have borne more. Many have a mistaken idea that as we grow older, we are expected to bear less fruit, that it is inferior and tends to shrivel and dry. Some of us may have less opportunities and less energy in later years, but I believe the Bible teaches that fruit-bearing should not diminish simply because of advancing age. Fruit bearing is for a lifetime.
In Psalm 92 David described righteous older people as still “yielding fruit in old age.” If we stay connected to Jesus, the Vine, abiding in Him, it is a matter of effortlessly yielding to the supernatural life of God within us that produces fruit. Older, seasoned trees often bear the best quality, most luscious, sweet fruit—as should we.
So go outdoors and whiff the burning leaves (if it is still permissible to burn them in your neck of the woods—safety first!)
Take off your sunglasses and look around at the changing season-scenes (unless you live in California)
Stop-Look-and-Listen to the "Vs” of honking geese heading South—unless you already live in the South—in which case why not give them a “Welcome Party”?
Well, anyway, go to the market and buy some crunchy Virginia Golden or Red Delicious apples and caramel dip.....and envy us who live where God lavishly paints His trees each autumn.
BRING ON AUTUMN!
AUTUMN is a cushion
a subdued, leaf-fire-scented buffer
between the swelter of summer
and the wail of frigid winter:
my favorite interlude
this seasonal spectacular!
AUTUMN is a wet, crunching bite
of a home-grown Red Delicious
a plump pumpkin time
a snuggle-under-covers season
a time for raking fallen leaves
winding up the hose
pulling up dry garden plants
filling the bird feeder time
an air-conditioner storing time.
AUTUMN is a moth-balled sweater
retrieved from the cedar closet
along with last year's
mismatched woolen gloves.
Unlike the sudden burst of spring
AUTUMN arrives with composure
and quiet intensity
that signals flocks southward
and elbows harvesters
to hurry with their bounty tasks
before the latter rains.
AUTUMN causes football fever
in restless males: spectators and players
it arouses ghostly squeals and costume madness
in the wide-eyed young for Halloween
while Thanksgiving menu and fall fashions
tantalize the female mind.
AUTUMN taps summer on the shoulder
nudging it out of the way
displacing the sultry day
with crispy-cool wool jacket weather.
I eagerly trade
deep-breathing frosty morning walks
for sluggish dullness that stalks
humid hot July which I
only tolerate because
I anticipate AUTUMN.
The painted leaf, the falling leaf
evoke in my emotions
a tension between joy and grief:
regret for what I haven't done
in blaze of summer sun
and gratitude to be alive
at this moment of harvest
in relationships and nature.
The wardrobe of the seasons
would be frightfully out-of-style
without the flashy scarf and golden cap
of AUTUMN with her winning smile!
P.S. Thanks, God, for not bargain hunting.
You spare no expense
when You re-create each autumn!