Fall Foliage: Lessons from Creation

October 20, 2022

One of the hallmarks of New England is the fall foliage. People gather from all over the country to catch a glimpse of the vibrant leaves. For those of us that reside here, these changing colors may seem ordinary. Every year we watch them change, fall, and we are left feeling the same as before. But what happens if you stop and look?

I am not an expert, but I believe that there are many lessons we can learn from creation. Here are three practical ones I have:

First, when I see the fall foliage, I am reminded to stop and rest. The falling of the leaves indicates the changing of the seasons. The trees are shedding their leaves for the winter, for their time of rest. It is not until the spring that the trees regain their color and physical beauty, but there is also beauty in the rest. The fall season overall teaches many lessons of thanksgiving but it also can teach us the rhythms of rest and Sabbath. If creation takes the time to rest and Sabbath, shouldn’t we?

Second, the fall season and the changing leaves remind me of the reality of the life of the environment. This knowledge spurs on a calling to pursue environmental justice. It is easy to go through the days not giving a second thought to the green things around you. However, in the fall, when the leaves change from green to red, yellow, and orange, the trees are reminding us all of the life that is within them. As a result of this life, we have a duty to care. Perhaps these fall leaves are there as a reminder of the existence of the beauty and fullness of creation and serve as a wakeup call for us to engage in its care.

Third, the colorful leaves serve as a tangible reminder of the incredible God that the world serves. What other being would be able to create colors so vibrant or create an ecosystem that has the ability to change for every new season? God’s hand is clearly seen at work in the fall season. He is the ultimate Creator, and the one through which all things have their being.

Sabbath, justice, and faith are all evident within the fall foliage. During this season, which is quickly coming to an end, I encourage all of you to get outside. Go on a walk. Put away your phone and other distractions. Enjoy the beautiful gift that God has given you. And while you’re doing this, pray. Thank God for his beautiful creation, pray for environmental justice in our world, and pray that we all would be able to follow in the rhythms of creation and take time to rest.

Job 12: 7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (NIV)


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