It’s already almost halfway through the month and well into fall and I’m trying to decide how to celebrate. I grew up in Central Illinois where corn mazes, hay bales, fall festivals, pumpkins, and apples compliment the dazzling display of fiery foliage. Mounds of soggy leaves dampened from the cool, crisp weather are gathered along the roadside to be disposed in some way. This is the last hurrah before we swap bonfires for fireplaces, hoodies for winter jackets, and hikes in nature for snuggles on the couch accompanied with a good book and hot apple cider.
Even with the euphony of boisterous celebrations, fall festivals or harvest parties, the season fills me with dread. The recent Indian summer teases me with false hope. Winter is inevitable in this part of the country so unless you live in a tropical area or experience the southern half of the United States, winter is the time where everything luscious and green withers up and dies. The flowers are going to fade, the deciduous trees will look like scraggly sticks rising from the earth, the pine trees will be layered with white and the horizon morphs into subdued grays and browns. Death.
This metaphor of death and dying pops up here and there in scriptures, too. It seems that death is something to be feared as punishment; something to run from, something that is scary and something that is inconvenient. That’s how I feel about the changing seasons. I dread it. Honestly, I don’t know how to make it better. There is nothing I can do to change the season faster. It’s a process that I can’t hurry. The fallen leaves need time to decompose to nourish the ground and the flower bulbs planted in fall need time to grow roots during winter.Thankfully, the death of winter stays for only a season and the hope and promise of spring and new life is not far behind.
“Death has been swallowed up in Victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15, is quoting Hosea and offers us further commentary in verse 56-57, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In this season of schoolwork and projects, I’m praying that your roots would grow deep. Through the process of studying the scriptures, class discussions, and the chapel experiences, your love of God would blossom and let the parts of your old self wither and die to make way for the new. That Christ would remind you of your purpose and what you have been created to be – A precious child of God. That death and change would no longer be scary because it brings to you the joy of new life. Remember: You are loved deeply.