“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:”
— Ecclesiastes 3:1
I love the season of autumn. Every year, I am reminded again of its beauty and awestruck by God’s amazing creation. Every time I step outside I praise God for the beautiful art God has blessed us with to live and experience in this season. And yet, each year I live it and attempt to capture it, my memories and photos never quite do justice to the actual reality of living in this season. The vibrant colors of the leaves, the crisp air we breathe, the backdrop of the skyline whether it being gray and dark cloud formations or a bright brilliant clear blue, cannot fully be described or explained. To fully experience this season, it must be lived. And so here we find ourselves again, living in it, surrounded by it, blessed from it.
And yet we all know this season will not last. The leaves will fall and whither, the sky will only get more gray and darker, the air will become frigid and cold, and the season of winter will come upon us. Seasons come and seasons go.
Our lives are full of seasons. Seasons of youthfulness, growing up, moving, exploring, discovering, finding, living, being. Some are in the season of growing where they are in school exploring, dreaming, learning; others are in seasons of beginnings – entering new jobs, settling into homes and starting families; others are in seasons of middle age raising children, juggling work demands and home life, and still others are in the season of retirement, stepping back from the fast paced life, tending to health needs and others and trying to enjoy grandchildren and even great grandchildren as much as they are able.
And again, I find that these seasons are hard to capture, difficult to describe or understand until fully lived and experienced. Each season brings joy and beauty, and each season is plagued with its own challenges and obstacles as it is surrounded by the impending changes to come.
As I reflect on all of this, I am reminded of the words I began with above from the book of Ecclesiastes, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” I find comfort in the reliability of the seasons that God has given us. For I know that while we are all in this season of autumn with winter close to come, that there is a purpose and importance to both fall and winter. Fall reminds us that there is a beauty to the changes that are to come, while winter reminds us of the importance of slowing down, being still and working through challenges outside of our control. Winter will not last forever for spring will follow and then we will have summer again until we are back to autumn again. This cycle brings me hope and promise. It allows me to embrace the season I am in and to trust and have faith with that which is to come. It helps me to be faithful and trust God with whatever season I am living, knowing that God brings life and purpose and beauty in each season and will see me through to the next.
So this day, I encourage you to reflect on what season of life you are facing. What beauty and gifts does this season bring, what challenges and obstacles? As you think about this season you are in, what praises, laments, joys, concerns can you entrust to God in prayer. What needs do you have and what beauty can you see? Ask God to help you embrace the season that you are in, open your eyes to the beauty of what you have been given this day and not to fret or fear about what is change is to come knowing that God will be with you, raise beauty in the changes you are facing and bring you through whatever season you are living.
Wendy Richter is a pastor at St. Mark’s and All Shepherds Lutheran churches.