Autumn has arrived! This technically happened on September 23, 2011, and the signs of the seasonal changes are all around us.

For example, I read the "Peanuts" cartoon strip recently. Charlie Brown and Lucy observed a tree — one of its leaves fell to the ground. Lucy asked Charlie if he knew the significance of that event. She explained (in her opinionated way) that it is better to be a tree, and not a leaf. I guess she meant that the tree continues to grow and live while the leaf drops off and is gone. Maybe you have another conclusion to her philosophical statement.

Yes, nature puts on a beautiful display of colorful leaves at this time of year with fall foliage. In some areas, we see different shades of red and gold. It's also the time of year that some enjoy planting bulbs, in anticipation of springtime blooms — Chrysanthemums are popular now.

We'll "fall back" an hour to standard time on November 6th in some places, and it will get darker sooner. Some schools take children on field trips to pumpkin patches and nut farms. Some memories that I have of high school are football games, pep rallies, hayrides, wiener roasts and bonfires. Years later, there are class reunions, which often occur in the fall and remind the attendees of the years that have passed.

When the weather gets that autumn "nip" in the air and turns cool, we turn our thoughts to bundling up. Out come the jackets, windbreakers, warm socks, boots, warm pajamas and flannel (or corduroy) shirts. Sometimes we add more bedding — blankets, quilts, comforters, and afghans in an effort to be warm and cozy. Something comes over me when it gets cool: I buy yarn and crochet.

In the fall, it's so nice to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, herbal tea, hot apple cider, or a mug of hot chocolate milk with a marshmallow on top as we sit by the fire or snuggle up with a pet and read a good book. Even Starbucks has gotten into the act: they're advertising their Pumpkin Spice Latte these days — a definite sign of fall.

Those fall beverages make me think of fall food — a big pot of chili or beef stew, turkey, yams, popcorn and popcorn balls, a basket of fruit, nuts to crack, gingerbread, pecan pie and smells of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Apples are abundant now, with many varieties to choose from — Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, Pink Lady, Pippin, Braeburn, Rome Beauty, Fuji, Granny Smith, Jonathan, McIntosh, and York. They can be enjoyed in so many different ways — eaten plain, apple pie, Apple Betty, applesauce, caramel or glazed, and even with peanut butter on slices (a personal favorite of mine).

The main thing for me is that autumn is the time for giving thanks, recognizing our abundance, and rejoicing in the good gifts of God. Let's not allow a "scarecrow" or two to get us down. We are blessed in so many ways, and have much for which we should be thankful — an autumn abundance.

And here are a couple ways to celebrate that abundance:

Psalm 100

Shout with joy to the LORD, all the earth!

Worship the LORD with gladness.

Come before him, singing with joy.

Acknowledge that the LORD is God!

He made us, and we are his.

We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving;

go into his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the LORD is good.

His unfailing love continues forever,

and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
(Psalm 100:1-5 NLT)

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

Words by Henry Alford (w. 1844)

Come, ye thankful people, come,

Raise the song of harvest home!

All is safely gathered in,

Ere the winter storms begin;

Autumn is the time for giving thanks, recognizing our abundance, and rejoicing in the good gifts of God!
God, our Maker, doth provide

For our wants to be supplied:

Come to God's own temple, come,

Raise the song of harvest home.

We ourselves are God's own field,

Fruit unto His praise to yield;

Wheat and tares together sown

Unto joy or sorrow grown;

First the blade, and then the ear,

Then the full corn shall appear;

Lord of harvest, grant that we

Wholesome grain and pure may be.

Title image licensed from Adobe Stock Images.