The Best of the Harvest Season!

Welcome back to another week of mittonmusings! It was a lovely fall day, today, and I reflected as I walked the puppy in the sunshine. I also bought a couple of pots of beautiful fall mums for my front porch. * Sigh* Tis the season of sweaters, pumpkins and corn husks! In Canada, the seasonal change of autumn marks another opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors… the leaves begin to change colours and the crisp air reminds us it’s time to prepare for winter.

It sparked a little debate recently – this idea of “the fall season” – and all it’s goodies. What would you say is the true fall taste or flavour? Are you a die hard pumpkin spice latte fan? Or is apple fritter and warm cider your go-to? A few years ago there was pumpkin spice everything!! Maybe apples are passé and only come around in September when it is back to school and all that.

What gets you excited about in autumn?? Photo by Alex Geerts on Unsplash

Either way, Covid has put a damper in all the farm visits and pick your own adventures. No fall fairs happening… at least not the traditional ones. I don’t know about you, but drive by visits simply can not be the same as getting down and dirty with some farm critters… am I right? No cider samples. No corn on a stick. No candy apples and fritters. Hmmmn. Smell all the smells. Taste all the tastes. Hug some chickens.

The Harvest Season has always been a time of rejoicing — even in Bible times. Jews celebrated the grain harvest and the Feast of the Tabernacles with abundant joy and thanksgiving for all God’s good gifts. He has provided, not only from the Earth, but through His teachings and blessings. It was a time to gather with friends, family and yes, even foreigners, to celebrate and share the blessings… both physical and spiritual. Covid restrictions aside. Here’s to hugs and good food!

Interestingly, the Spring Harvest was the Israelite’s more “important” time in terms of crop gathering. The major crops of the land in that day (and maybe even now?) were wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and honey. Wheat and barley were the staple of the people in those days and constituted over fifty percent of the average person’s total caloric intake, followed by legumes (e.g. lentils), olive oil, and fruit, especially dried figs (Judaism: Practice and Belief, 63 BCE-66 CE, 1992, page 129). Grain harvest was in the spring, so technically, it was more vital to their survival than the fall Harvest. I think Canada only gets rain and worms in spring. Still, the fall festivals were the ones to enjoy! Be merry, the Bible tells us!

And yet, no matter when the crops are ready, the point of the celebration is the same. The Bible describes our heavenly father as the “Lord of the Harvest” (Matthew 9:38). You see, the blessings and provisions we enjoy don’t actually belong to us… they belong to the “Lord of the Harvest”. And His message is twofold: we are blessed, and we are blessed to bless others. Many of you will remember our “30 Days of Blessing” Challenge… we designed it to remind us of exactly that fact. It was a practical way to share a little kindness each day… not only to ourselves but to those around us.

And so, my friends, as you drive thru and savour your next pumpkin spice latte, or devour your next apple fritter, remember that God’s beauty is not only in the falling leaves, but in the choices we make each day. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. It’s difficult for me to see the needs of others easily. Some of you are truly gifted in this way and are constantly doing good works. I need reminders. Maybe that’s why God made so many markers out there: fall colours, sweet smells, delicious tastes, cool breezes. Maybe that was His was of saying, Look! I am the Lord of the Harvest, and I’ve made all this for you!

Be blessed, friends! Happy Fall!

God Shaped Spaces

So, my friends, how is your week going? Over here? Well. In addition to the province-wide lockdown and three kids trying to do school from home, the internet decides to crash and burn today, so no one got much done. Parents and teachers are frustrated. My grocery bill is creeping up now that the teenagers are home full time. Our work week has been a crazy-filled mix of Covid restrictions and further precautions…simply adding to the stress. Cases are going up but we are hearing of friends getting shot up (with vaccines that is). Apparently we are in a virus hotspot… or we have too many friends that are old. My house is slightly disastrous as I’ve been trying to catch up on housework, but a persistent sniffle held me back from regular tidying and sent me into panic mode (Do I get tested? Will that inflict a forced isolation on my only remaining co-worker? How many different medications are you allowed to take together to prevent a cold?) Not to mention the puppy is still as crazy as ever and is still sneaking things off the counters. And then, yes, and then…. while dutifully brushing my teeth and flossing well before bed one night last week… boom! a giant chunk of rock popped out of my tooth… an already paid for filling… now sitting in my hand! Thankfully the space left is not painful… just annoyingly present and causing me to aimlessly probe it with my tongue every few minutes. Why do we unconsciously do that when something goes awry in our mouths? It’s like our tongue has a mind of it’s own.

Yet, I am reminded that there are always blessings. Even when we are in the midst of chaos and upheaval … We have a good God who is in control and sees our day to day. We are blessed to still be working and earning steady incomes. The kids eat because we can fill the cupboards without worrying. Our little urban garden seedlings are growing steadily… ready to sprout out in the big, wide world soon. I hear the spring birds call to each other every morning. And the dog is pretty cute most of the time. I really can’t complain about the stage I’m in. Many others are far worse off than our few “inconveniences”.

Still, as I was contemplating this week about how crazy this empty space is in my mouth, my mind began to wander a bit about how often we fill up our God shaped spaces in our hearts. I’ve heard it said that we have a “God shaped” space in the depths of our hearts where only the perfect puzzle piece fits. That puzzle piece is our relationship with our Creator. Like a little signature spot made just for the designer of a masterpiece (that’s you and me, by the way). It’s like this hole in my tooth: we probe it with our mind-of-their-own tongues and unconsciously look for something to fill it with. Perhaps we look for relationships to fill the space. And how many relationships fall apart because they are not the right “fit?” Or wealth? Or the pursuit of education, or keeping up appearances, or fighting for justice, or who knows. So many of us have gapping holes we know need filling, but the fillings eventually just become another hunk of rock and fall out, leaving a blank space.

And so, as I think about all the craziness that has gone on in our house in the last few weeks, and share it here with you, I’m sure you have your own stories to add. Perhaps, like me, you will be graciously reminded that there is a perfect little spot in your heart for God to move into. And once He settles in, you’ll notice a little bit of peace starts penetrating through the darkness of Covid and lockdowns and the crazies of life. He shines a little light in, just enough for you to focus on the blessings each day. Which makes me smile. A filling-less toothy smile, that will have to be fixed soon. Take a number, dentist.

Christmas Morning Blessings!

This post should arrive on Christmas morning! (assuming you are reading somewhere close by!) So, for today, no great insights to share with you… just a simple message to say “thank you” for following along with me and my adventures! Enjoy the beauty of the season, and may you truly sense God’s presence today as we celebrate His gift to us !