Autumn, I love Autumn. Its rich glowing colours and chilly mornings force us to ponder the fast approaching season of winter. I want to linger a little longer… I want to take more photographs of the deep hues burning through the trees… I want to launder more throws and blankets before winter draws the family indoors, almost into hibernation. I want to stockpile scented candles, hats and gloves. I want to fill the draws in my hallway with extra woollen socks, scarves and torches ready for when winter really sets in. You see, this preparation time means that I can have the attitude that ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.’
The proverbs 31 woman was prepared, she was not afraid of the changing seasons for her family..
Verse 21 says:
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
I want to imitate this woman, she is prepared…
Marriage may be viewed much in the same way… There are different seasons of marriage, all adding to the depth and beauty of this covenantal relationship.
At the beginning, ‘spring‘, new life forms, each bud that appears is a glimpse of something beautiful about to spring forth. New home, new baby, newness… Fresh and brand new. Very little decay apart from a few trampled daffodils…
Then summer, oh glorious summer. Happy days, joyful gatherings, holidays, growing children, career advancement, strengthening marriage. No longer new but still passionate…in fact we may even have been burned a little… The challenges we face adorn our marriages with a new strength…
Autumn arrives… Maturing leaves cover the trees and then they fall like feathers, a splendid display and a radiant beauty captures our imaginations. Children grow to maturity and flee the nest, a time of reflection brings tears but a warm glow comforts us as we recognise that they turned out well… God will do His part in due season…We sense winter looming, warmer days are behind us and yet lurking beneath is an excitement of something very special.. Christ’s birth… Maturity in marriage recognises a need to draw closer to Christ.
Winter, a time of hibernation for many of God’s creatures. Sparse foliage, sparse conversation combined with a restful assurance that this feels like the end of the year and yet, we know that spring is just around the corner… The winter can be a time of great loneliness for some, the once huddle and bustle of family life is a distant memory, illness and weariness might dominate marriages in this season. The mundane descends like snow on the ground, it’s everywhere and nothing is to be hoped for. However, for those with faith, we know that the seasons have reached the perfect maturity, the seasons have performed according to their purpose. They have prepared to way for new life for those on earth, they have toiled and ploughed. Sown and watered. Rested and watched. The time is near for abundant life, a spring that never runs dry, a garden with no decay and a voice that says:
‘well done, good and faithful servant…’
Marriage needs preparation. Men and women should know how to prepare for each season, to expect the possibility of a poor season and yet discover that even in times of immense cold or heat, the beauty of the Lord can show us another viewpoint, another angle which reveals that our marriages are more beautiful than our own short sightedness can see.
How often we think the grass is greener on the other side… We just need to step to one side and welcome the special moments of the season that we are in. Find beauty in every day. It is there…