October has finally arrived, hopefully bringing with it cool autumn breezes, chunky sweaters and warm boots on weekends, jewel colored leaves on trees and piles on the ground just perfect for crunching, flickering Halloween lights and of course, pumpkin spice everything. From coffee to candy, from paint samples in Lowes to slogans on sweatshirts (and yes, I have one!) it’s that pumpkin spice season once again. Those who don’t even like pumpkin flavored things may feel encouraged, or cajoled, (or even pressured) to purchase at least one pumpkin themed beverage in the next 31 days.
Why the infatuation with pumpkin, with fall, with fuzzy scarves and fleecy sweatshirts and football Sundays and All Hallow’s Eve? I do not remember this “craze” as a youngster or even as a very young adult. Fall was just “back to school” season; uniforms, homework, sports or clubs, one show on tv and then bedtime before the routine began once again. Maybe one pumpkin decorated the steps and a few ghosts hung from windows and maybe my mother made pumpkin pie once in October. (One October, the “scariest” of my youth, she made pumpkin stew in the actual pumpkin. My reaction when called to the dinner table that night is still remembered by my parents and brothers!!) It’s as if our society realized that we needed something to celebrate during the fall, not just that one day of October 31st, but rather a full celebration of the season, of the beauty of nature that occurs between the first day of fall and the advent (no pun intended) of the holiday season each year. And what better iconic fall symbol to celebrate than the pumpkin? On its own it’s a harvest symbol, carved it’s a Halloween one and for those of us who look to see the gift of God in the world around us, it can call to mind our own selves and how His hand helps to shape us daily.
For me, and for you, believing in God’s presence in your life is a little bit like being a pumpkin. He calls to you from the patch, picks you, and brings you into His presence. His love washes away all the dirt and His grace helps you to open your heart and let go of the seeds of doubt, hate and greed. During this autumn season, this season of pumpkin spice, allow God to carve in your soul a new, smiling face, and allow the gift of His light to shine inside you for all the world to see.