Our grandson who is in 8th grade plays a sport every season and sometimes the sports overlap to where he is playing two at a time. But if you ask him what his favorite sport is, he will usually tell you the one in which he is currently participating. I can understand that because as we are now experiencing my “favorite time of year” with the crisp, cool, often clear days of autumn and its magnificent colors of the deciduous maples, mountain ash, oak, elm and chestnut trees and then all the grasses and shrubs that are also turning shades of yellow, orange, brown and red. Then to top it off we had our first snowfall this past Thursday which has since melted in the valley but left our beautiful mountains with a blanket of white. Yesterday began with clear skies and frost on the ground. We went for a walk during the break between Sunday school and church and reveled in all the colors of the trees with a backdrop of mountains dusted in white set against the deep blue Montana sky. Wow, Lord, you are such an amazing artist! We are also blessed to have, in our area, Western Larch trees whose needles turn yellow-orange in the fall and fall off. They too have begun turning and can be seen on the mountainsides contrasted against the fresh blanket of snow.
Then as winter comes and all the landscape is blanketed in white against a wintery-blue sky, that becomes my “favorite time of year!” We live where there is not much wind in the winter, so the snow piles up on trees, posts, fences, and creates some amazing scenes. We enjoy cross-country skiing and love getting out on a sunny winter day with the snow glistening like diamonds as it reflects the sun’s rays.
Springtime, of course, has its own special beauty as everything comes alive after a period of dormancy and the birds that nest in our area return and the spring flowers burst forth. What an invigorating time. We always enjoy watching the new fawns born to our “local” deer herd. Watching them romp and play is a delight. At that time, spring it is “my favorite time of the year!”
Then comes the summer and family, and hiking and swimming and picnicking and fishing and watching our garden grow and the beautiful roses bud forth and…that becomes “my favorite time of year.” (Note: This past summer was not one of our favorites, however, as it was extremely hot and dry and smoky for much of the time, with wildfires in much of our area).
I’m so glad that God is a God of variety and created the universe, placing the earth in such a strategic way in its relationship to the sun and moon that we have distinct seasons (especially in parts of the world such as where we live). Psalm 104 speaks of God’s creation and says: “He made the moon for the seasons…O LORD, how many are Your works! In wisdom You made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions” (vv. 19,24). Again, in Psalm 136 we read: “Give thanks to the LORD..to Him who alone does great wonders…who made the heavens with skill..who made the great lights…the sun to rule by day…the moon and stars to rule by night, for His lovingkindness is everlasting” (vv. 1-9).
When you observe the awe-inspiring creation all about us—and even the powers of nature seen in the hurricanes, floods and fires of this past summer and early fall—one can say with David, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have set in place; What is man, that You are mindful of him? And the son of man, that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than heavenly being, and crowned him with glory and honor! You made him ruler over the works of your hands; You put everything under his feet…O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth!” (Psa. 8:3-9). To think that the universe and our planet earth were created especially for us and we, as the crown of His creation, were given responsibility to care for the earth tells us how much God loves us—enough to come to earth Himself to provide a means of forgiveness for our sin and an opportunity to share eternity with Him. Man’s sin and the curse God placed upon the earth as a result (Gen. 3), has surely marred the beauty of God’s original creation; yet the beauty still breaks through and gives us an inkling of what the renewed earth that we will get to enjoy for eternity will be like, providing we have trusted Christ and His work on our behalf as He suffered for our sins, died, was buried, rose from the grave and is coming again.
Today, as you observe some of God’s amazing creation, whether it is the splash of autumn colors around you or the variety of birds and animals that live in your area, stop and give thanks for His intelligent design and for giving us all these things to enjoy (I Tim. 6:17). In a world that is in chaos, full of hatred and division because of sin, it is so encouraging to focus on our God and what He has made and how much He loves us and what He has planned for us. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!