Encouragement From The Word

October is my favourite colour

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers,” wrote Lucy Maud Montgomery in Anne of Green Gables.  The delight of seeing the verdure of deciduous woods transform into hues of red and yellow and gold is a sight that never gets old.  (As I type this, I am beholding this transformation right in front of me, as my wife sits in the driver’s seat on our way to visit my mother in hospital; please pray for her!)

The dramatic nature of the colour change varies, depending on location.  If you live in the desert, you’re not going to see much change.  But in more temperate areas, the transformation is definitely more noticeable.  If you experience any kind of significant season change, you will see more colour.

And then, you will see no colour…just sticks coming up out of the ground.  And then, white sticks.  And then, melting, and buds, and leaves, and verdure once again.  The cycle continues year after year after year, in God’s grace.

The changing seasons remind us of the all-too-quick passing of time.  It is our most precious commodity.  How will you make the most of it?

The starkness of autumn reminds me of the importance of investing in eternal things – things that won’t decay with the passage of time.  This involves lining out our priorities.  Someone once wisely quipped, “What are you going to do with your dash?”, referring to the line between the year one was born and the year one died.  Will you use your time wisely, in ways that will impact your and someone else’s eternity, or will you fritter it away?

The leaves are starting to fall.

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3.1, NLT).

Encouragement From The Word

In a world where there are Octobers

Perhaps the most famous Canadian pastor’s wife was the late Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942), though she was not known for her marriage to The Rev. Ewen Macdonald (1870-1943) quite so well as she was for her literature.

Montgomery led a very sullen personal life, though one would never know it by reading her Anne of Green Gables stories.  (Some suggest she lived vicariously through her writing.)

Lest today’s Encouragement take a hard turn for the morose, let me say that it was a quotation from the original Anne of Green Gables story that came to mind as we mark the turning of the calendar today:

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

Thus said Anne Shirley, the namesake heroine of Montgomery’s most famous book.

One of the great blessings of living in Canada is that we experience four very different and distinct seasons.  The shoulder seasons – spring and fall – are perhaps more stunning for their beauty than their solstitial siblings.  The beauty of deciduous trees coming into leaf, and the splendor of their changing colour, are unparalleled.

If I had to choose, though, I would always choose fall.  The crisp air, the russet maple leaves falling to the ground – though they are harbingers of the coming cold and snow, they are perhaps the most delightful harbingers God could have created.  Anne Shirley was right:  I, too, am so glad that I live in a world where there are Octobers.  That quotation could almost be right from the Bible.

In reality, though, this sentiment appears in Scripture – though differently worded, to be sure.  

One of the ways God reveals himself to the world is through creation.  Theologians call it “general revelation” – the notion that seeing the beauty of the world ought to point us to the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Depending on where you live, you might experience autumn differently than I do, living in southern Ontario.  And, of course, the colours of the falling leaves vary with temperature variations from year to year.  But, unless you live in the desert or in the arctic, there is no denying that fall is a beautiful time of year.

Take some time in the coming days and weeks to pause and soak in the beauty of the world around you.  And praise the Lord, who made it all to point to his glory.

Then, respond by giving him glory!

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display his craftsmanship” (Psalm 19.1, NLT).

Encouragement From The Word

The beauty of the season

I’ve heard numerous people remark that they think this year’s fall colours have been the best they’ve seen in a long time.  There’s no doubt – if you live anywhere near where I live, the hues of red and orange and yellow have been breathtaking.  It’s one of the many reasons I’m glad to serve where I do.

There’s plenty of science behind why the leaves change colour, but in one sense, I like to think of the beauty of autumn as God’s gift of compensation for the winter that is to come.  (I almost wrote “God’s apology”, but I don’t think God needs to apologize for winter.  It too, is a season of beauty.)  I have friends who live in places where the four seasons of the year do not render the same degree of physical expression as they do in Ontario, and I think it would be hard to live in such climes, especially after having lived my whole life in an area with four distinct seasons.

I have visited places where there seems only to be one season, perhaps with varying degrees of temperature.  While there is a certain monotony about these places, there is much beauty and grandeur about them, too.  We all have favourite sights and favourite sites:  I am awed by the snow-capped Rockies and Selkirks in the west.  My friends in Alberta love the deep-red maple trees in Ontario.  Others are captivated by the azure and clarity of the Caribbean ocean.  It’s all good, and it’s all God’s.  “He has made everything beautiful in its time”, wrote the teacher in Ecclesiastes 3.11.  And if we will pause to see the beauty in creation, anytime is God’s time for his world to be beautiful.

Whenever people mention to me that they think this has been the prettiest fall they can remember, I respond by saying, “May you say that every year.”  By that, I mean, “May the beauty of creation capture your heart every fall!”

I pray that to be true for you, that the beauty of God’s creation will capture your heart – not just in the fall, but in every season of the year, and every season of life.