A Fall Season Like No OtherDon't Let This Difficult Year Keep You From Celebrating the Things That Bring You Joy

A Fall Season Like No Other
Don't Let This Difficult Year Keep You From Celebrating the Things That Bring You Joy

pumpkin variety

By Caleb Hennington

Digital Content Editor

Fall’s welcome arrival in late September heralds the return of everything pumpkin. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin scented candles, pumpkin decor; anything and everything you can imagine is guaranteed to be touched by the pumpkin spice fairy.

I’ve even seen pumpkin-flavored goods taken to extreme levels, like pumpkin spice protein powder, pumpkin spice salsa, and (shudder) pumpkin spice kale chips.

Despite my avoidance of most things pumpkin other than coffee or pie, many people enjoy their daily fix of pumpkin. They also realize that the return of pumpkin spice on every menu and grocery shelf in the U.S. means that cooler temperatures, beautiful and bright fall leaves, and big family gatherings are here once again.

But, let’s face it, this year is going to be different than any fall we’ve enjoyed in the past. COVID-19, and the strict social distancing, mask-wearing, and limits on group gatherings are going to severely limit some of the fall festivities we’ve grown accustomed to celebrating.

We’re already seeing talks of Halloween being “canceled” this year; the CDC has recommended that traditional Halloween activities, like door-to-door trick-or-treating, be avoided to stop the spread of the virus.

Churches that celebrate trunk-or-treat or fall festivals will also have to rethink their plans this year.

And Thanksgiving? Well, I don’t imagine most of us want to think about alternative plans for a holiday that is traditionally celebrated with large family gatherings and shared meals.

So what does it look like to celebrate fall traditions in the middle of a global pandemic?

At a recent staff meeting, someone brought up how different this year’s fall celebrations will be and how they are usually excited to decorate their house with fall colors, pumpkins and spooky Halloween decor. But why should they even bother putting up decorations this year if there’s nothing to celebrate?

As we all pondered this common feeling about the upcoming season, someone brought up the idea of celebrating for yourself; as in, if decorating your living space with fall decor gives you joy and lifts your spirits, then do it for you.

If buying all the pumpkins and ornamental gourds at your local nursery makes you happy, do it.

If pumpkins spice everything gives you a burst of positivity in your morning coffee, pour away.

Don’t let the things we can’t do affect the things that we still can do.

We can’t celebrate the way we used to, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate at all and we can’t find joy in this wonderful time of the year.

One thing that I look forward to every fall is camping season and the beautiful color changes we experience throughout our beautiful state. And guess what? I can still do that! The pandemic has not stopped me from getting out and enjoying the peace and quiet of a secluded nature walk.

Remember to celebrate the little things that bring you life and meaning, and make a point to celebrate fall in a way that brings you real joy and happiness.

It Simply Changes Everything

Hopefully, you already know that God loves you more passionately than you can imagine. Hopefully, you already know that God loves you enough to send Jesus to die for you so you can experience salvation, healing and new life. And hopefully, you already know that this is all a free gift and all you have to do is trust it by faith. Yes, hopefully you know all of this. Not just in your head, but also in your heart. Not just with your words, but enough that it changes how you think about your life, yourself and others. And not just some of the time, but every moment of every day. And here’s why. When you experience the fullness of God’s free gift of love for you, it simply changes everything. 

A Sunday Prayer

Lord,

I always want to remember that You are God and worthy of all the praise I can muster. But too often I forget. Please forgive me.

I long to live every moment of every day as a disciple of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But too often I fall short. Please forgive me.

I aspire to find the right words to say and actions to take so that Jesus will be glorified, and people will embrace him. But too often I bumble and stumble. Please forgive me.

I hunger and thirst to live in Your amazing grace. But too often I think that what I do is more important than what You do. Please forgive me.

I am committed to engaging in acts of mercy and justice that arise from living in Your Kingdom. But too often I think just about myself. Please forgive me.

Yes, Lord, please forgive me. But even more importantly, help me trust You enough to welcome Your grace that allows me to do far more than I can ever do on my own. 

I pray this in the strong name of Jesus.

Amen.

Be Amazed By What You Hear

What do you want out of today? You can probably articulate your list pretty easily. But what does God want you to get out of today? You may struggle to answer that question in any meaningful way because you’re not really convinced God can be that personally involved in your life. Well, God is. And God wants to be even more. Your job is simple if you are serious about wanting to know what God wants you to get out of today. Ask, listen and be amazed by what you hear. 

That Moment

There are times when you’ve given it your best shot, tried everything you know to do, applied all your skill, and failed. That moment when you recognize reality can be painful. Or worse, devastating. But that moment can also be transformative because it’s when you are most ready to invite God to do what only God can do. And when you do, it’s amazing what God will do. It may not be what you had in mind. But it’s what God knows needs to be done. Which is why your heart’s prayer should always be, “Lord, give me just the grace I need in just the way I need at just the time I need.”