This has always been one of my favourite times of the year... I have countless poems and other personal writings about the world around me preparing for a winter's slumber death as trees transform into brilliant colour and shed the remnants of summer's dancing leaves.
The wind is different in autumn... as though it knows it bears a new task... one of carrying forth the yellow leaves, enchanting us with the unique sound of rustling and the smell of impending Winter. The air is crisp with reality and the chill reaches the heart's desire to keep warm and give thanks for the shelter we know.
To me, there is a solemn wisdom to the earth in autumn as it prepares for the inevitable. You see the odd tree struggling to hold on to its leaves, resisting what is coming, but for the most part, there is a harmony to nature as it surrenders gracefully to this process. The transition is a humbling one as all that decorates these trees is shed to reveal rawness, nakedness... the very core of what is there. No hiding...
I love this time of year for the introspection it draws forth from me. This year in particular, as our family delves deeper into the question "what HAS God asked of us?" we are inspired and in awe at the significance of His "appointed times" and more specifically the many that are found in autumn! It is as though my heart has known all along of what hinges on the air of Fall based on the "feelings" aforementioned. Perhaps we all know it to some degree... perhaps we all feel the calling of its significance.
Rosh Hashanah (God's appointed "new year" also known as the Feast of Trumpets) was on the new moon of September 9th. It marks the beginning of the Holy Days and celebrates the beginning or creation of the world... a spiritual birthday for all creation, if you will. The blast of the shofar (or trumpet) proclaims its commencement, announces the coming of Holy Days and prepares our heart for the trumpet blast that will announce the second coming of Christ. It certainly makes one reflect on the validity and indefinite weight to God asking us to observe these appointed times for all eternity. Perhaps they are appointed because of the many historical events that seem to coincide with them and their eerie connection to why these are appointed in the first place. It's as though God has designed these markers to "prepare" our hearts and our eyes to recognize when life-changing events are occurring and/or will occur... like a clock whose special time can only be read by those who study to understand them... what a brilliant and loving design! And then my heart begins to thump in a panic as I exclaim to God "but I want EVERYONE to KNOW how to read this clock!"
And so I offer you my promise to better study and understand these appointed times and to share that knowledge as best I can with all of you! But in the end, it will depend on you to seek your own understanding and to seal your own connection with God's truth. My hope is that I can help in some way and share with you that journey of seeking a deeper understanding. I do not want to observe these festivals just because... I want to observe them because I believe that God has asked me to.
Yom Kippur was on the 18th which traditionally means "the day of atonement" and "Day of Judgment/Redemption" and lastly, the "Sabbath of Sabbaths". It is meant to be a day of fasting (except for small children, pregnant and nursing women), cleansing and reflection. Back in the day, the Hebrew teachings revealed that animal sacrifices were not "enough" to pay for our sins... something was missing as Hebrews 10:4 indicates "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." God designed these sacrifices to mean temporary redemption... as though a true sacrificial lamb was yet to come... the One who would make us all clean again... ETERNALLY! Is it possible that "judgment day" as prophesied in the bible will coincide with this appointed time? Wouldn't that make perfect sense? "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by which we draw nigh unto God." (Hebrews 7:19). And is it mere coincidence that judgment day will be proclaimed by the blast of a trumpet... perhaps the Feast of Trumpets only days before the Day of Atonement? Is this prophetic poetry in all its majesty? Is He trying to tell us something? Is He trying to TEACH us something? Is He preparing us to recognize these times?
And sundown on September 22nd marked the beginning of Sukkoth, or "Feast of Tabernacles" where we are called to live in a temporary dwelling for a week of harvest festivities. Why temporary dwellings? To represent the temporary dwellings of the Hebrews who were led out of Egypt's slavery to live in the desert for forty years. To represent God coming to live among us. And some would suspect, a prophetic preparation for the prophesied "rapture" where God's people are taken up to a "temporary dwelling" prior to the great years of tribulations prior to Christ's return. Once again... it makes one look at these appointed times with far more awe and respect than a mere "oh these were just things/dates made special for the old times... they no longer apply to us."
The more I make these connections, the more I am shaken by the significance of their TIMELESS application! And the more I am eager to learn them!
So this autumn posting finds you on a day when our rubber boots are preparing to hibernate for the winter as they bid adieu to a summer that was rich with the need to wear them! The leaves are collecting at our steps as though daring to remind us of the significance of this time of year both consciously and subconsciously. May you be richly blessed with vivid colour all around you, crispness in the air and a calling to search within your heart and soul... finding the elements that make you who you are - good and bad - and the promise of an impending Spring of life only moments away!
Prepare your hearts in the way you see others and yourself for it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things DONE IN HIS BODY, according to that HE HATH DONE, whether it be GOOD OR BAD." One could almost deduce that what we have done to others, we will also experience... good AND bad! Keep that in mind the next time you lose your patience or try to hide from that neighbour of yours who always wants to talk or borrow things they don't always return! Or when you have a power struggle with a co-worker or treat someone you have never understood (or liked) with an unloving heart. Be mindful of what you give others whether by the way you speak to them, look at them or don't look at them.
Shed those leaves and be bare before yourself and God that you may discover a raw love for your fellow brothers and sisters... especially those who challenge you the most! And be made new again in the glory of God. That is my prayer for you today... and always.