This picture doesn’t do justice to what I saw on my walk with the dogs today at the dog-park, but it does represent something of the exquisite beauty that is evident on every hand at this time of year. September 22nd is the date for the changing of the seasons, or what is known as the autumnal equinox. On that day, the sun begins to shine more light on the southern side of the equator and the amount of daylight in the northern half of the globe tends to be reduced — especially if you’re living quite a ways north, as we are. It’s not actually the case that the sun moves, but because the earth is tilted as it is, on its 365 1/4 day-journey around the sun each year, it is struck by the light of the sun at an increasingly oblique angle reaching its extremes in what is known as the summer and winter solstices.
How this was established in the beginning is difficult for any one of us to know except that the Bible affirms that God arranged for it. It may have happened during the time of Noah when the world-wide flood is said to have occurred in Genesis 6-9. God’s promise at that time was that, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease” (Genesis 8:22). And so we have this variation of seasons, each of which has its own special kind of beauty reminding us of God’s great love and faithfulness.
The fall season is especially beautiful because of the vivid colour changes in the leaves of deciduous trees. As the sun recedes and cooler temperatures emerge the leaves produce less and less chlorophyll causing other chemical substances to prepare the trees for winter and produce the colours that we see. The chemistry is a little too complicated for me, but I certainly do like the effect! And it’s good to know something of the physical changes that happen in order for those colours to show through. It’s not magic! It’s actually the result of the a process that God has built into His amazing creation from the beginning.
Besides the beautifully changing colours there is a distinct fragrance to fall that fits with the cooler temperatures and crisper air. No doubt this has to do with the decay of the leaves caused by their changing chemistry. It is generally a pleasant smell because of the associations it brings to our minds.
And so there is nothing quite like a walk in the woods in the season we call fall. There is something invigorating and comforting about the experience, and those sights and smells prepare us for the journey into a new phase of our lives.
I love the fall because it is a time for recommitment to our regular work and the things that we value to make life what it is. I’m excited about the fall because of the new opportunities to learn and to grow in our understanding of God’s ways. I myself, look forward to what God will do in our personal lives and in the life of the church with which I am presently working. Changing seasons provide opportunities to gain new perspectives on our lives. If seasonal changes draw our attention to God, they can become sanctifying experiences of His grace in a way that makes us want to leave patterns of thought that have been negative, perhaps even sinful. Renewed commitment to God in the fall begins with a recognition of the need for God’s grace, with cleansing from sin through the blood sacrifice of Christ on the cross for that purpose, and with the realization of renewed fellowship with Him.
I love September because in many ways, it always provides a fresh start to a new year of learning, of working and growing. It means seeking God more deeply, reading the Bible and other expressions of God’s truth, of praying and determining, by God’s grace to move forward and upward in the glorious will of God. As fall comes, there is a sense of expectation in our hearts of what the Lord is going to do in our families, the lives of our children and grand-children, and in the direction of our lives. Though we’ve served in many different ways in the past, the fall opens the door to new experiences and expressions of service.
How good God is to give us the opportunity for seasonal change, especially in the fall.