Just before Thanksgiving, I was driving along on a familiar stretch of road near my house and was captivated by the beauty around me. The colors I saw were bold and bright in their rustic and earthy tones as the leaves of the trees had morphed into what many believe is their most magnificent hue. I began to wonder about the season we call “The Fall” and how it so represents that infamous biblical event with the same name.
When Adam and Eve chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, they “fell.” And, from what heights they did fall! They were created for relationship with God and with each other. They were created for eternity. But, our sovereign Lord knew the choice they would make and also what He would have to do to rectify their sin. God sent them out of Paradise into a world filled with thistles and thorns, with heavy labor and pain, but… not devoid of ALL that is good.
Even in this fallen world, we see beauty. It isn’t constant, and it is never perfect, but there are glimpses of Eden here and now. And, with every little glimpse of goodness and light, color and joy, the warmth of the sun or the crispness of fall, we see God. He reminds us everyday, “You’re not alone.” He screams it in the sunset, “I’m here!”
“I’m with you!”
“I love you.”
He sends us gifts like snow in winter to cover the nakedness of the leafless trees and lifeless fields making what is barren beautiful. God is good and mysterious and wonderful. I’ve sung about white Christmases all my life but never imagined that it might really happen here in Alabama, but it did. Life is so like that, unexpected. On Christmas Day in Alabama, it snowed. It didn’t cover the ground, and it was mixed with rain at times, but it snowed! The first snow in my 40 Christmases spent in Alabama. I wondered all day about it. Why is it snowing? What does it mean, God?
My Bronner had gone to heaven on the day of the first snow in Alabama in six years, January 19, 2008, and now it was snowing on Christmas Day 2010. Another friend of mine buried her adopted daughter on a snowy day in February 2009, and the snow comforts her. She has always seen it as symbolic of the purity, the innocence, and the goodness of her sweet Emme. Snow is never comforting to me. It’s beautiful to me, and as I have watched it fall, I have felt so many emotions from peace to melancholy to even joy.
I truly believe that everything matters, everything, and that God is speaking to us all the time and in every possible way. I, for one, want to listen. I want to know what God is saying to me through the snow mixed with rain. Maybe He was saying that the cold, dark days I’ve spent here on earth since Bronner’s been in heaven won’t last forever and that the many tears I’ve cried have all been kept in His bottle. Maybe He was saying that goodness and light can fall on a fallen earth and that something else is on the horizon, the dawning of a new day when tears will never fall and winter will not bring death.
God has a plan for redemption, for restoration, for life.
Fall becomes winter, and winter… becomes spring. And, spring brings life. If all was not lost in the fall, then all is not lost in winter either. The cold, dark winter of our souls bears a seed that in springtime will awaken. If fall represents the dying (and we all are, both fallen and dying) and winter represents death, spring is the resurrection of all that is good. Spring is life and brings life. And, we know that it is coming, so in that, we take comfort, and we bide the fall and the winter with the hopes of spring.
But, the seasons are not only for biding. There is a purpose for every season under heaven just as there is a season for every purpose under heaven. So many people say that fall is their favorite season, and rightly so in a way. It is the here and now. It is what we can see, feel, and touch. It is a reminder that all is not lost. There is so much to be thankful for in the fall. Here is the harvest, a time to bring in the crops, a time to work. Most of us aren’t farmers, but even in my little garden, I found that there is so much work to do when the “crops” come in. For instance, corn comes in all at once. You have to either eat it, dry it, or freeze it right away, because it doesn’t last long. Time is imperative with a crop like corn.
We must remember to work in fall, to help bring in the harvest for God, the harvest of souls searching for the seed to resurrect their spirits in springtime. Everyone wants to live. We were created that way. We were created for life, for God, for something each one of us knows deep inside is there… Eden, Paradise. We’ve never been there, but we remember it somehow. It’s deep within us, and all of us are searching for our way back. Some have found the way, the truth, and the life, and those who have, have to show the others. It’s required. It is not suggested, but commanded. But, even this is a gift.
What are we doing with the time God has given us to live here in “The Fall?” Are we bringing in the harvest of souls put before us? Are we praying for spring? Are we working as if time was of the essence? Are we reminded of God’s plan and purpose for man and the earth with each coming season? Do we take time to reflect on and ponder God’s goodness and grace?
Every night is dark, but every morning is the dawning of a new day! Everything in nature and in time testifies to the resurrection. As the caterpillar inches his way into his own tomb only to come out a new creature, more vibrant and beautiful than before, so will we. Just as dying brings death and winter brings the cold, Jesus brings life. Jesus walked out of that tomb on Easter morning. He was dead, and behold, He is alive forevermore, and He is making ALL THINGS NEW.
So, when springtime comes, dance, and when summer is here, rejoice! Work in the fall, and reflect in winter. It is all from the Lord, and He is perfect. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Drink in every new day with expectation, the expectation that God will speak, the expectation that there are gifts around every corner and that with every new year, there is growth within the Kingdom of God. Grow your gifts in this New Year, seek the holiness and mystery of God Almighty, and challenge yourself to see what could be. Spring will come. Let us prepare ourselves for it, for Him who is coming to revive our souls, to wipe away every tear, and to make all things new.
Happy New Year, my friends!