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!

This is My Father’s World

Ahhh… today is the first of October. And in Canada, fall is beginning to show itself in full colour. With it, comes the sigh of satisfaction at a bountiful harvest, and the joys of quieter days. (We are going to ignore the fact that the weather can’t make up its mind and both snow and 30 degree celsius temperatures happen all in the same time frame — just work with me and my idealized vision of autumn, okay?!). I wasn’t sure what to muse about this week, and was going through the things that have been recently on my mind: Greta Thunberg and her fight for global change, aboriginal celebrations of strength, fall fairs, baked warm apples and pumpkin spice lattes, and for some reason, this old hymn popped into my head:

This Is My Father’s World (Lyrics)

This is my Father’s world,

And to my listening ears

All nature sings, and round me rings

The music of the spheres.

This is my Father’s world:

I rest me in the thought

Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;

His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world,

The birds their carols raise,

The morning light, the lily white,

Declare their maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world,

He shines in all that’s fair;

In the rustling grass I hear him pass;

He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world.

O let me ne’er forget

That though the wrong seems oft so strong,

God is the ruler yet.

This is my Father’s world:

Why should my heart be sad?

The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!

God reigns; let the earth be glad!

“This is My Father’s World”, was originally published, posthumously, by the author’s wife in 1901, in a book of his poems. Maltbie Davenport Babcock, was a New York minister who frequented the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario, simply to marvel at “His Father’s World”. I think he was close enough to Canada to appreciate the true beauty displayed, especially during autumn. The popular hymn was adapted from Babcock’s poem by his friend and musician, Franklin Shepherd, in 1915. (The original poem contained 16 verses of 4 lines each).

I was reminded of the hymn back on my travels to Wolfville, Nova Scotia this summer, (you can read about that adventure here) and discovered it is also themed in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. As the camera pans the rolling hills of the Shire and all the familiar simplicity of a hobbit’s homelife, we are reminded that despite this era of evil, this is My Father’s World.

So, as our sunflowers begin to droop from faces ladened with seeds, as the leaves change colour and eventually die, as fall mums and ripe apples display their ruby redness against a backdrop of golden hues, I hope you relish the thought that this is my Father’s world. Perhaps you’re off to drown your troubles in a quiet coffee shop with a “grande PSL”. I’m here to remind you: That though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the Ruler yet. Happy first of October, my beloveds!