“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
I grew up in the north. So fall was a refreshing time of year. After the hot summer days, the air would turn crisp. A virtual mask was removed from my face allowing me to breathe again. And the trees would put on a show, illustrating God’s amazing artwork.
But now I live in Florida where autumn doesn’t have the same aura. The days can still be hot. And I rarely see trees that burst with yellow leaves. (Although I can look forward to seeing the beautiful rain trees bloom with vibrant colors.)
Even though I live in Florida, I still love this time of year. It goes beyond what we see and feel physically. For me it represents change. A time to let go of old things in order to make room for the new. A time to discard old beliefs and habits, so that new opportunities and ideas will have room for growth.
I was thinking about this recently, and I wondered if my internal clock was off. To me, this time of year has such an excitement to it. And in my soul it feels like a new year. Four months before January 1st, I am ready to start a new Bible plan, ready to alter my focus, and ready for radical change. Why is that? Am I just ahead of schedule? Or is there something deeper going on?
If we look at the Jewish calendar, we find three key events that happen around this time of year.
1 – Elul is the twelfth month of the Jewish civil year. Elul usually occurs in August–September on the Gregorian calendar. In the Jewish tradition, the month of Elul is a time of repentance. Elul is seen as a time to search one’s heart and draw close to God. This year Elul falls between August 11 – September 9. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elul)
2 – Rosh HaShanah (literally, “Head of the Year”) is the Jewish New Year, which marks the beginning of a 10-day period of prayer, self-examination and repentance. This year Rosh HaShanah falls between September 9-11. (https://reformjudaism.org/jewish-holidays/rosh-hashanah)
3 – Yom Kippur, also known as the Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year in Judaism. Its central themes are atonement and repentance. This year Yom Kippur falls between September 18-19. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yom_Kippur)
So I wonder, could this be why I have such strong feelings about fall? I do not have any Jewish blood in me (that I know of). But perhaps since I have been adopted into God’s family through Jesus, maybe this is why I have an appreciation for this time of year.
Whatever the reason, I believe we all can view autumn as a time for harvest. Traditionally this means that crops will be harvested. After many months of working the soil, the people are rewarded with plenty of food for their family and neighbors.
In the same way, I feel that fall is a time for soul harvest. After spending the majority of the year cultivating your life, it is now time to pull new attitudes and perspectives up from the ground.
God has new and exciting things on the horizon. If we take time to stop and reflect on what we have learned this year, we will see what changes we need to make, which will allow for great things to come into our lives.
Take some time this season to think about what changes God is calling you to make in your life. What old habits and beliefs need to die and flutter to the ground with the leaves? After you have cleared some room in your life by removing the old, think about what new treasures God is prompting you to uncover from deep within the soil.