The leaves are changing and dropping from the trees

Have you noticed? Summer is over and Fall is very much upon us. In some ways it is my favorite time of year. There is a chill in the morning air but it is warm enough for shorts and short shirt sleeves in the afternoon. As much as I enjoy it, it signals that winter will soon be on its way. It means waking up in the dark and leaving the office in the dark. The one day of an extra hour sleep does not make it worth it. The beauty of the autumn colors soon will lead to bare trees bracing against the cold wintry winds. Unless you are “California Dreaming ? , what can be found to keep us thankful in all things? If I was a skier, thoughts of upcoming snow storms would bring anticipation and excitement. If I had a blade on the front of my truck (oh wait, I don’t have a truck) I would be looking forward to the revenue made from clearing snow. Thanksgiving and Christmas certainly cause excitement. One friend counts down to Christmas right after giving Easter its due ?

No. What gives us gratitude is knowing the leaves dying and falling off the trees is only temporary. It allows the tree to conserve it’s energy so that it can produce its leaves, flowers,fruit, etc in the spring that will come. The winter does the same for us. The difference is it can come at any time. There are seasons in our life that make us hunker down and become less busy. That stillness allows to find solitude. That solitude brings us to a place of dependence not on ourselves but in the One who created us. Henri Nouwen puts it this way. “Our outer silence will lead us to an inner silence. Silence and solitude invite us to gradually let go of the other voices and trust the inner voice that reveals to me my true name.” Like the tree or vine leaves, God want us to wither away and die so in our spring time, we can be spiritually reborn into the life God created for us. It allows us to bring forth beauty that those around us can enjoy. Pamela Bunn’s prayer in sums it up well. “Lord, prompt me to look for Your scattered beauties in the ordinary, then give You all the praise upon beholding them. Help me to do my part in scattering beauty, and standing out with a bit of Your glory, so others might praise You too.”

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