NOTES FROM DEACON PAREJA
For so many people, fall is their favorite time of the year. The cool crisp mornings punctuated by the burst of color on the trees invigorates their spirit and lifts their souls. The idea of raking leaves into big piles and finding that perfect pumpkin to complete their harvest colors seems to energize them after the heat of summer and the endless mosquitos are in their mind’s recent past. In full disclosure, fall is not for me. As a point of clarification, I do certainly appreciate the brilliant fall colors as the leaves change on the trees, but it seems like if I’m not outside at the moment the leaves are peaking, it’s quickly missed. What’s left behind are brittle, dried leaves that need constant cleanup from lawns, landscaping and gutters. Fall is also the time of year that the shortened hours of sunlight seem to dampen my mood. Spring and summer are where I find my greatest strength, energy and joy. As I peer out my window at the leaves laying on the lawn, I realize that every day is a blessing from God. I’m trying to understand and appreciate the grace of God in these cooler, shorter days. So I have been spending the past several weeks in prayerful discernment trying to understand the importance of the changing seasons as it relates to our Christian faith. Here is what I’ve come up with this far: I think I’ve focused far too long on the idea that fall represents the end. I’m realizing that fall actually signals a new beginning. As the growing season comes to an end, it doesn’t simply fade away. Rather, the harvest bursts into
our consciousness in a flurry of colors, sights, and smells.
We don’t just accept the end of a season of growth. Instead, we celebrate in the bounty that God has given us. It is a time to prepare for winter by canning and storing our goods. It’s also a time to celebrate with great feasts. Very soon we will plan for the great feast of Thanksgiving where we celebrate all that has been given to us. Theologically, I’m also realizing that fall signals Jesus’ great sacrifice that He made for our salvation. The falling of the leaves and the end of the growing season is not a sign of the end of life. But if we look at fall through our Christian lenses, we see that the changing of seasons prepares us for the glory of new life that awaits us in the spring. Every year we must experience the fall season and the dormancy of winter as we anticipate the glory of life that awaits us in the spring. This is very similar to our experiences of Jesus’ crucifixion and death that He had to endure before He gloriously rose from the dead on that Easter morning. Through death comes new life! If I put the changing of the seasons into a faith perspective, I’m beginning to appreciate the fall season a bit more. I’m beginning to see the beauty of the moment as I look in anticipation to new life promised to me in the spring.
Regardless of which season is your favorite, I hope that you, too, can see and appreciate God’s presence in each of them. Blessings,