The Bible says, “While the [E]arth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease" (Genesis 8:22, English Standard Version). In his 1856 four-volume set, Sacred Philosophy of the Seasons, Henry Duncan wrote: “The changes of the seasons display, in themselves, a remarkable and beneficient arrangement; and the adaptations . . . during these changes, afford ample materials for a beautiful and striking exhibition of the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator” (Winter iii). The seasons of the year evidence the existence and goodness of God. Gospel preachers in the first century declared: “. . . He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17).
Duncan observed: “. . .[A]utumn has a remarkable character of its own, which distinguishes it from all other seasons. . . . This is peculiarly the season of ripeness. . . . [T]he vegetable productions capable of being stored for use, have been chiefly reserved for the autumnal season. . . . [W]e find the ripening of corn and of various fruits immediately preceding the sterility of winter. . . . As the season advances, its character changes. At first it is full of enjoyment . . . [S]erenity and beauty is in the bright blue sky; the fields, chequered with gold and lively green, speak of plenty and enjoyment. . . . Towards the close of autumn . . . a deeper sentiment occupies the mind. . . . [I]t is a melancholy not unmixed with enjoyment, and . . . allied to deep moral and religious feeling. The decay of nature reminds us of our own. We too must pass into ‘the sere and yellow leaf,’ and fall away” (9, 11-13).
The corn has turned brown in the fields. The pumpkins have turned bright orange. The leaves on the trees are changing into their autumn dress. The days are getting shorter. The nights are getting longer. Autumn can, and should, be a time to impress on us the “fall of life” when work on Earth is completed and “in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9). Autumn is a time of great beauty, but it is also a time for deep reflection. The haze of Indian Summer will fade from the fields. The November wind will strip the leaves from the trees. The meadow brook will be turned to ice.
Jeremiah challenged his people with the following words of “autumn reflection:” “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jeremiah 8:20, emp. added). As we reflect on autumn’s rich display, may each of us give deep thought to what follows the “Fall of life” and learn from the season, before the spiritual Winter comes.