By Rev. Denise Bender

autumn-leaves-fall

I always seem to become more aware of the weather in the autumn. I think it is because there is a tendency in Denver to have every season there is in the autumn. One day is sunny and I am watching a strawberry plant in bloom (silly thing), and the next day the poor strawberry plant is covered with six inches of snow, and the next day the wind is howling like it is springtime. But, I must admit that I have five things I am most grateful for in the autumn:

  1. Trips to Mexico to share in the culture of Día de los Muertos: IMG_6581I returned from my second Spanish Immersion trip led by our United Methodist Annual(regional)Conference on November 2 with the sights, sounds, and smells of the three-day holiday to remember those who have passed still fresh in my mind. Watching the faces of families who had recently had a death in the family as they remembered and grieved led me to realize once again the importance of remembering. Jesus said, “When you lift the cup, and eat the bread, remember me.”
  2. Turkey: I love turkey on Thanksgiving . . . only. Most other days I find that turkey is not as tasty. Turkey is a reminder of tradition in our family, and meals I have served or shared with people I know and people I have never met. The savoring of relationships when strangers come together as family to share a meal is one of the experiences that must happen on other days of the year, also. Turkey can be served on any day of thanksgiving. Jesus said, “I am the stranger whom you feed.”
  3. Birthdays: From November 2 until December 16 my family of 16 members celebrates 11 birthdays. The birthday candles barely cool off as they are passed from house to house for different parties. The fun never ends. Jesus celebrated with his family at weddings and other celebrations. His friends were an important part of who he was and he nurtured those relationships with honesty and love.
  4. The weather: Each year the earth knows it is time to rest. The leaves fall and the grass turns brown, even my little strawberry plant realizes it is time to turn inward and rest. Resting isn’t always curling up by the fire and bingeing on “The Good Place,” but rather an intentional focusing on who we are as the autumn brings us to early winter and the possibilities in the new year. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who are weary, and I will give you rest.”
  5. (Did I already say Turkey?) Children’s Christmas Plays: simple nativity with gold lightsWhen we think of autumn, we don’t usually think Christmas – unless you are a Children/Youth Pastor, and then fall is all about how we can best share the story of Advent and Christmas with the children in a way that allows the secular spirit of the season to be framed by the story of the birth of Jesus. So much of children’s spiritual development relies on the ancient stories of our Christian faith to be framed in what they experience as children in a very confusing moment in history. The faith that is wrapped in hope, peace, grace, and love that leads to the end of the autumn season is the gift we give our children.

What are your favorite things about fall? Comment below or share on our Facebook page.

If you are looking for resources for your family or congregation during Advent, Christmas, or Epiphany, be sure to check out our seasonal Resources page for materials for worship, faith development, and spiritual practice. And sign up for our email newsletter if you haven’t already, so you can keep up with our latest news, events, and opportunities.

 

 

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