Wednesday, September 06, 2006

As we head into Fall and Winter, I feel the need to be so thankful for our Lord, our lives, the blessings He bestows upon us, and the everyday life, filled with its work and possibilities. "Your heritage is my delight, the lot you have given to me." Thank you, Lord!

Here in southern Virginia, the stifling heat of Summer is over, and I am once again enthusiastic about making oven meals, baking, simmering meals slowly on the range or in the crockpot, and looking for the subtle changeover to Autumn that occurs in the natural world around me. I believe that for some strange reason, we can "feel" the season when it arrives, regardless of what the calendar says. This year, I am certain from traveling up to Vermont and back to Virginia in late August, that Summer ended around the 21st. of August and Fall had arrived, quiet as a mouse in the middle of the night, like a family member tiptoeing in, careful not to make noise lest he disturb the others in their slumber.

As I posted in a different forum, "What is really interesting to me are my three cats. Back in August, they too, seemed to switch into "Fall and Winter" mode by becoming lethargic, less interested in going out and more interested in just sleeping a lot. All Spring and Summer long, they are in and out of the house constantly. If I keep them in at night, they invariably start tearing the house up just before morning and I have to get up and let them out. Not any more, since about the last week of August."

So what can we do right now to make our homes cheerier, and what little thing might we do here or there to bring Christ's light to our community around us. I like to decorate my porch and door with Autumn colors and themes. I also have candles in the windows that I put on in the evenings and even on dark and rainy days. When I was growing up, we lived in a house that sat on a tiny hillock overlooking one of the busier roads in town (nothing compared to the traffic and highways today). Every weekday afternoon, as people were coming home from work, the road would invariably fill with traffic, sometimes slowing way down because of a red light up the road. My mother had a hurricane lamp that she would light each afternoon, which could be seen from the road, precisely to bring a little cheer to the weary workers, as they made their way home. I just love that sentiment.

I think she was inspired by an old man who lived on a quiet stretch of road linking our town to my grandmother's. He used to keep a lamp lit in every window of his house! We used to marvel at that. The house got locally "famous" and finally the explanation for why he did it came out in the newspaper. He wanted to cheer and light the way for travelers (he actually lived next to an old cemetery), but he always turned the lights off at 11 o'clock at night, since he felt nobody had any business being out at night after 11. I just thought that was the neatest thing.

So too, we must keep the welcome light on in our hearts for the lost and weary travelers who journey with us through this life right now. Maybe all we can do somedays is smile at those we pass on the street or in the store; maybe we could just remember to hold a door open for the person coming behind us; maybe we are disabled or so grieved or stressed that all we can do as our heads hit the pillow is think of this poor world and offer a one word prayer: "Jesus".

It matters. It counts. God is love. Spread Him around. Rebuild the walls.

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