by Dr. Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 40 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Blue Denim and Lace)
The time of the year that listens to the echoes of the happiness of summer and girds itself for the coming chill of winter is know as autumn. Perhaps no season of the year does as much to the emotions of men as does autumn. . ..Autumn.
Autumn is a season of leaves, when the nature dots each leaf with a different color and blends it into a beautiful painting that no artist can capture. It is a season of stacks and piles of leaves and the smell of their burning. . .Autumn.
Autumn is a season of trees, when they, like Joseph of old, put on their coats of many colors and thrill the heart of each observer . . . Autumn.
Autumn is a season of crisp air, when God's air-conditioning is turned on in full blast, causing a spring in the step and a sharpness in the air such as no other season can cause. . .Autumn.
Autumn is a season of melancholy, when mothers who had dreaded summer and the bother of the children find themselves missing Johnny and Susie in the loneliness of a quiet living room after school has snatched them away . .. ..Autumn.
Autumn is a time of memories-memories of a wonderful summer, the best vacation we ever had, happy meals in roadside restaurants, picnics, ants, flies, car trips, shower baths, and playgrounds. . .Autumn.
Autumn is a time to reflect upon the joys of summer, when the family was closer than at any time of the year. Now we separate to go our several ways with our many activities and varied interests but with memories to keep us together until we pack next year for an ever greater vacation. . ..Autumn.
Autumn is a season of explanation, as wide-eyed children tell teachers that this was the best summer ever. They explain with loud voices about the trip to Grandpa's farm, the feeding of the chipmunks in the mountains, and the catching of the biggest fish ever (which must have weighed at least a half pound, and whose picture weighed five pounds, and which weighs twelve pounds in the memory of innocent childhood!). . .Autumn.
Autumn is a season of the sound of footballs and the encouragement of cheerleaders. It is a time when every team is undefeated and has dreams of the championship. . .Autumn.
Autumn is a time of cleaning, when lonely mothers sigh and clean the finger-prints and cluttered closets of little ones whose empty room is suddenly a sanctuary. . .Autumn.
Autumn is a time of tears, when mothers and fathers say good-bye to college students who only last year were in kindergarten. It is a time of wondering where the years have gone, a time of bewilderment as we try to remember just a little of the brief period between kindergarten and college. . ..Autumn.
Autumn is a time of the familiar squeak of unoiled school bus brakes, as we see the well- scrubbed children across the street getting aboard. . ..Autumn.
Autumn is a time of reunion, when school friends measure each other to see the growth of the summer and when friends forgotten for weeks seem dearer than ever before. Forgotten are the differences of the past year. Forgotten are the arguments on the ball field. Our friendship suddenly is dearer and sweeter than before. . .Autumn.
Autumn is a season when Mom has time to realize what it means to be a mother. She has been so busy being a mother that she has forgotten what being a mother really is. When the chorus of voices has faded toward the school grounds and the shuffling of little feet has left the carpet for the concrete, Mom sits down with emotion and realizes what it is to be a mother. She bows her head in thanksgiving that she has been called to be a woman that "excellest them all." . . .Autumn.
Autumn is a time of weeping. Mother and Dad have wondered for days if little Susie would weep when she went off to school for her first day. Mother has girded little Susie for this occasion and has reminded her to be a good girl and not to cry. Susie, however, forgot to prepare Mother; and as Susie goes off to school skipping and laughing, it is mother who wits down and cries, as Dad is bothered with a recurring sinus condition. . ..Autumn.
Autumn is a time when Dad bundles up all the bills to see how much month is left at the end of the money. He shakes his head and listens more carefully to the commercials concerning "Friendly Bob Adams and the Household Finance Corporation" and ponders his "plight to the poorhouse" as he prays for God's wisdom and help to provide for his family. . .Autumn.
But in it all, autumn should be a time of dedication. The turning of the grass, the dropping of the flower seed, the dying of the leaves, the fading of the summer all remind us of the "Corn of Wheat" that fell in the ground two thousand years ago at Calvary. It reminds us that One had to die that we might live.
As sure as autumn reminds us of His death, the hope of spring reminds us of His resurrection; for these same trees shall bloom again, the same grass shall grow again, these dying flowers shall blossom again, and our Saviour rose again!
Autumn, finally, is a time to die. It is a time for us, with the flowers, trees, grass, and nature to die. We should die to self, die to our own pleasures, and live unto Christ.
We look back in retrospect at the summer and brace ourselves for the chilling winds of winter. Let us enjoy the most beautiful season of them all—the season, death—for in death nature is at its prettiest, Jesus reached His glory, and we become our best for Him.
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“I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion,
warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years.” —Billy SUNDAY