It's the most wonderful time of the year. At least it is for me anyway. I love fall. Without a doubt, it's always been my favorite season and this year I have found a few new reasons to embrace it even more.
For starters, I love the change in weather. I welcome the chance to say, "Good-bye" to long, sweltering summer days and "Hello" to cool autumn mornings and perfectly pleasant afternoons.
I love seeing plump, orange pumpkins--whole and round, yet also carved and lit with candles. My eyes are drawn to the vibrant, yellow chrysanthemums and petite, purple pansies I find all around me. And there's something about a jolly, straw scarecrow that just makes me smile.
I love watching fall sports, too. I love to cheer for my daughter and her softball team. I love being a spectator at an occasional youth or high school football game. And what kind of Georgia girl would I be if I don't root for the Dawgs as they go to battle each week on the gridiron?
I love the fact that for the most part, bugs have left us alone, weeds are virtually non-existent and our allergies are finally at rest. We find we truly enjoy being outside this time of year.
I love planning and celebrating my oldest daughter's birthday each October and seeing both of my girls enter the land of make-believe as they dress up as their favorite character on the last day of the month.
I love the abundance of sweet treats (particularly the chocolate ones) I find lining the shelves at every store and supermarket.
And this fall, I've discovered a new love for apple cider, roasted pumpkin seeds, and my most recent favorite find--pumpkin bread. Why have I avoided these delicious fall treats in the past? All I can say is my taste buds certainly thank me now.
Why is this? Why do the leaves change? The answer the girls and I read this past week in our science lesson was incredibly enlightening to me.
Here is my very basic, very elementary synopsis:
Because the days are shorter in the fall, less sunlight shines down on the trees. This is a signal to the trees to stop producing food for the leaves. Because the leaves aren't receiving any more food, they begin to die. The chlorophyll (the stuff that makes the leaves green) ceases to exist and the leaves' true colors shine forth. Soon they will fall off the tree and leave the branch empty--ready and waiting for new life to bloom forth in the spring.
But none of this can take place unless the leaf dies. No beautiful, bright glorious colors for all to enjoy. No new life in the future.
"I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest." John 12:24 (Amplified)
I, too, want to be a display of God's beautiful and wonderful handiwork. I want His true colors to shine forth from my life. Therefore, I must do what is necessary. I must die to self, daily. As hard as it is, I am promised a rich harvest if I do so.
Armed with this new understanding, I love fall all the more. God is thematic. He weaves His life and His sacrifice into creation all around us. We just have to open our eyes to find it.
With each new season comes the hope of change. The previous season no longer exists. Something different is right around the corner, waiting for us to find it. From time to time, I confess I kind-of like different. Who knows? Finding different just might become my new favorite thing.