Golden yellow . . . burnt orange . . . flaming red . . . the fall of the year is literally a feast for the eyes as trees turn from various shades of green to all those bright hues that beckon us to the mountains, the woods, or even our own backyards.
My family lived in Virginia near the Blue Ridge Parkway for eleven years. Every October, we made our annual trek to the Parkway to view the glorious foliage, and we were never disappointed. Along with the stunning colors, we were delighted with the nip in the air, apple harvests, picnics beside mountain streams, and walks along wooded trails. We often collected those bright leaves to make collages, tangible reminders throughout the year of God’s color palette and His striking creativity in nature’s shapes, sizes, and hues.
When we were children, I remember all of us joyfully jumping into piles of raked leaves; now, I do not recall why that was so much fun! As adults, I suppose we often think only of the work it takes to get those leaves into piles and removed from our yards. Back then, the fall season was exhilarating—it represented the start of school, frosty mornings, clear sunshine, the anticipation of wonderful holidays to come, and especially the anticipation of snow.
Still my favorite time of the year, fall always evokes fond memories, but also creates new ones. My husband of nearly forty-one years, then my fiancé, returned home safely in the fall of 1970 from a tour in Vietnam. We were married in December of that year. Every fall generates a happy recollection of that memory as we look forward to celebrating another wedding anniversary together. Today, with our children and grandchildren, our family enjoys celebrating birthdays and other anniversaries together in the fall as well. And, even after all these years, I still see young children today having a great deal of fun jumping into piles of leaves!
To me, those gorgeous colors of fall represent nature’s cycle of life—before the leaves wither and fall to the ground, they go out in a “blaze of glory,” painted brilliantly by God’s own hand. We can take our cue from those leaves, realizing that our lives are like tapestries woven by God’s hand as well, but He often allows us to choose our own colors as we make our choices and decisions that ultimately affect the final design.
There are times that dark, somber threads, representing difficulties we face, are woven into our tapestries beyond our control, but the Master Weaver knows what He is doing and wants to create something beautiful with our lives. We can rail against circumstances by attempting to rip out those dark threads which, from our limited view, are mistakes. But we can only see the underside of the tapestry, whereas God looks down on the finished side of the weaving. Those somber threads are actually there to refine, and thus illuminate by contrast, all the colorful elements of these tapestries to make them even more beautiful. God wants to refine our lives, sometimes through trial and difficulty, to make us more like Him, all the while weaving in beauty and texture that we might not totally understand or see at the time.
Let us trust Him with our tapestries—not only with the wonderfully vibrant colors we get to choose, but also with those seemingly improbable dark tones He sometimes weaves into them. Our lives will then manifest a ”blaze of glory” like those beautiful fall leaves—for others to enjoy.
In her 21-year career as an English teacher, Mavis Duke Hinton now teaches English online to students across the USA and several foreign countries. She grew up in a military family and lived abroad in Europe during her childhood. She has also been an editor for Christian and secular organizations, including Liberty University, as well as a police officer. She has taught Bible studies to all ages, from preschool children to adult women, and has spoken in educational conferences as well as women's groups from time to time. Married for forty-one years with two married daughters and three grandchildren, she has written two Christian fiction novels in The Dachshund Escapades series, I Am Sarge and I Am Dachshund, both published by OakTara.