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Autumn is a beautiful misery. Shade trees flame into golden reds before undressing for winter. They drop their clothing to the earth, stripped of their ball gowns, leaving their skeletons to point at the sun. After their dramatic exit, our heroes burn through the decayed clothing to protect us from its fury that can turn a town into ash. It’s necessary, I know. Prescribed burns help protect us from the monster blazes, and even promote germination of certain trees. It’s a death to promote life, and in the midst of pumpkin pie excitement, we try not to choke on its polluted breath.

The smoke keeps me on a steady diet of tea and honey. My son has to hole up 1029131129inside to protect his fragile lungs, and in our living room we become part-time hermits for the holiday season. But we still sing to the Silent Nights and lift our tea cups to the King that died on his own tree, bleeding into the earth an invitation where death has no place and the only fires that exist are the ones He placed inside our hearts.

My children marvel at the trees that are in-between green and red, orange and yellow. Something about this season has wired them with energy beyond what sugar can do. They delight in the tie-dye colors and wind that blows the leaves into a confetti spice, weaving in and out of fence posts and windshield wipers. A passion for life has filled them, almost as if the flames are teasing their feet.

And we sniff, and cough and sneeze in the beauty.

When Christ displayed His love on the cross, didn’t He show it with fiery passion? I think on how often I stay in the fire compared to the times I just want to crawl underneath security blankets and block out the smoke and darkness the next few months will bring.
But, the fire, when shaped and pruned by God, is what lights up the world.

So maybe this season is God’s reminder to keep the flames going. If you let yourself get lukewarm, the decayed things collected through the years will ignite uncontrollable and consume all that is good. But if we stoke the fire, and let God strip the dead stuff away, how much more will the world see His glory?

What does autumn remind you of? Tell us in the comments.

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