It probably seems strange that our October theme is Rest and Relaxation. After all, most people think of summer as the time for R&R–taking a cruise or chilling in a beach chair at the ocean, or whatever you find restful and relaxing.
That’s not what nature does, however. In fact, summer is nature’s time to hit the high temperatures and bring out all the fresh fruits and garden produce. Winter doesn’t seem very relaxing, either, with the wind and the snow and short days with early darkness. Nature is obviously very industrious in spring, as everything comes back to life. But in fall, and usually starting in October, nature begins to shut down for the long rest.
The leaves change color and drift to the ground. The temperatures begin to drop (okay, they’re taking their time this year, but you know it’s coming!). Caterpillars form cocoons. Many animals prepare for a winter of hibernation. Nature has to go to sleep for awhile to renew itself for next year. This pattern is related to what Jesus says in John 12:24: Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
Jesus is not referring only to his own death. As Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. As we watch the leaves fall this month, we should remember that in our baptism we died to sin and became a part of God’s kingdom, which is here and now with us.
And our lives have periods of growth and productivity, and periods of hibernation when it seems like nothing very productive is happening. It is happening–God is using those periods to prepare us for the next part of His plan for us. Wait for it. Fall is here and winter is on the way, but spring will surely come for all of us. When everything slows down, God is preparing us to grow.