Autumn Glory

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I round a corner and I catch my breath {again} as I am confronted with a stunning shade of autumn on another tree. I never tire of this annual display of leaves. Glittering golds, warm yellows, wine-coloured purples, vibrant oranges and stunning reds. The beauty!  This week I was pondering if there was any evolutionary reason for coloured leaves in the fall. What would be advantageous, in the evolutionary sense of the word, for the trees to turn amazing, stunning, glorious colour? To me, the answer doesn’t really matter. In the same way that I picture my Creator painting each sunset in all its glory for us to enjoy, I also see him painting leaves. To me, it is another example of our Creator’s love for us. Just think, God could have created brown trees with grey chlorophyll inside dull leaves. Instead, each spring we are delighted by the fresh green that pops out of buds.  And in the autumn, there is brilliant colour everywhere. I think that God just loves us and wants us to delight in beauty… in the same way that He does. Another good gift from a good Father.

A friend reminded me that this glorious colour is actually because the leaves are dying. As the days shorten and the temperatures drop, the chlorophyll decreases. When the green pigment decreases, the true colours of the leaf that have been hidden by the chlorophyll during spring and summer, are revealed. So really, God begins by creating each leaf in this glorious colour. While we only see the green, God sees the colours beneath the green. I wonder if He gets more and more excited as the fall approaches, knowing that the leaves will begin displaying their true, brilliant beauty?

I have been in the presence of a dying man. And it was a beautiful place.

In the same way, these leaves are dying, and they are so, so beautiful.

Perhaps there is beauty in death. Although we tend to see death as a negative thing in Western society, as something to be avoided at all costs, and not really talked about if at all possible, perhaps God’s perception is different: in death there is beauty. Can you imagine?

Perhaps the trees are showing us something of an underlying truth.

When Jesus says that whoever loses their life for his sake will find it (Matt.10:39)…

…  or when Paul says that it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Gal.2:20)…

… or in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians where he states that Jesus died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (2 Cor.5:15)  …

…what do you think?

Perhaps, in the dying to ourselves, there is great beauty revealed. Perhaps, by giving up our agendas so that God can break in at a moment’s notice; or by giving up our time to love someone as they struggle; or by seeking God’s will rather than our own, even though it seems harder; maybe by giving up ourselves, our plans, our lives… perhaps then our true identity, our true beauty is revealed.

Until then, we are like the myriads of green leaves, living our lives, doing our thing.

But when we die to ourselves, look what we become: our true selves… glorious.