Perhaps there is a God-given parable built into that last reality. Perhaps we should be reminded, by the changed (yet gorgeous!) autumn leaves, that a similar beauty is meant for us in what has been called ‘the autumn of life’.
It’s not original with me to say that human life has its seasons – the spring of youth, when we grow and blossom; the summer of prime adulthood, when we produce fruit and get a lot work done; the autumn of older age, when certain things begin to slow down, and yet there is still produce to be gathered; and the winter of death.
And isn’t it interesting that the leaves, in the autumn of their lives, are given a flourish of beautiful color? Yes, they have lost some of the strength of spring and summer. But they are also granted a striking splendor in this final season of life!
The autumn of the life of faith can (and should) be much the same. Yes, as we draw near to winter, we are not quite the same as we were in the spring and summer of life. The energy of spring is no more. Some of the productivity of summer is just not possible any longer. But, if we are walking with the Lord, a beautiful autumn hue will also be growing upon our lives – the mature fall coloring of greater patience, a more fully-developed eternal perspective, and an increased dependence upon God in prayer.
Don’t you find these things attractive in mature older saints? Would, of course, that we all would seek much more of them earlier on, as well! But growth in grace is progressive and, as with the leaves, some of its warmest coloring appears later in life.
So whether you are living in the spring, summer, or autumn of life – take a parable from the changing of the leaves this fall. When you notice their changed, yet stunning, appearance, ask God to make you beautiful in your older age, as well; to grant you the autumn hue of increased Christian maturity. Don’t wait, of course, until older age to seek or expect growth in the graces that are sometimes peculiarly attractive in that season of life. But ask Him that in older age, you will indeed be colored with the maturity of autumn.