Pumpkins and Sunflowers
Ripenings and Sproutings
Autumn has landed in Southern California. My neighbor’s pumpkins are ripening on the vine as the sunflowers of summer stand a brown watch over the pumpkin patch. The shorter-and-shorter days are still bright and warm but the evening air brings a chill. Leaves color and fall, destined to rot on the compost heap.
We celebrate fall as a season of completion, of harvest, but it brings beginnings, too. The academic year begins at schools and universities. It’s time to plant trees, shrubs, bulbs, and cool-weather flowers and vegetables in our mild climate. Our calendar is clogged with birthdays in October and November: my brother, Rich’s daughter, her fiance, his little girl, two nephews, my son-in-law, and three of my cousins came into the world in autumn–and I’ve probably forgotten someone. We’re awaiting the debut of our newest grandson, who is due in three weeks.  
In climates with more distinct seasons, these endings and beginnings are more obvious. Put the boat in storage for the winter and wax the skis. Pack up shorts and gauzy skirts and pull the wool sweaters from storage. Hang up the weed whacker and fire up the snow blower.
Our God has designed a grand cycle. We orbit through the seasons, and while sometimes we focus on endings and completion, each holds its particular promise of something new–and maybe something better. With each season’s change, we practice for the greatest ending and beginning of all, when we leave our tired, broken, earthly bodies behind and take up our eternal home in heaven.
1″Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.”
John 14:1-4 (NASB)