Monday, September 22, 2008

Welcome autumn!

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 Iowa where we enjoy spectacular autumn scenes, but the land is flat. Living in Virginia now, I love to look at the slopes of mountains and hills for a panoramic view of the sensational burst of changing colors.

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.


Leona Choy

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!



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