I love the fall season. I love baked apples, all things pumpkin and snuggling up by a campfire. It is truly my favorite time of the year, especially when I go camping. I so enjoy watching the leaves change color, painting a glorious picture across the landscape. I came across this quote recently – “The trees are about to show us how lovely it is to let the dead things go.” (anonymous). I instantly knew that there was a lesson in this; that, once again, the God of Creation brings to mind not only the beauty of the world He created, but also shows me an important truth.
If you know anything about trees, you know that the leaves produce food for the trees by absorbing sunlight. In the fall, when the days become shorter and there is less sunlight, the leaves stop the food-making process. The chlorophyll that is responsible for the green color breaks down and disappears, revealing the yellow, orange or red colors it has masked all summer. Essentially, the leaves fall off when their job of feeding the tree is done. This process is a form of self-protection for the tree. If the leaves remained in place over winter, they would be of no use to the tree in the springtime.
There are many things that we often hold onto that are of no use to us. Pride, self-centeredness, anger, unforgiveness, just to name a few. But there is an even greater lesson to consider here. If the tree hangs on to old leaves, there would be no way for the tree to receive nourishment the next spring.
We receive our spiritual nourishment from the Holy Spirit, who guides us daily and opens our minds to understand and apply the truths of Scripture. He is our living water (John 7:39). But in John 16:7, Jesus told the disciples that “…if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you”. Jesus had to die and return to His Father in heaven so the Holy Spirit could begin His work. The disciples were so distraught about not having Jesus with them on earth that it never occurred to them that He could give them something even better. Jesus’ job on earth was done; He was paving the way for the Holy Spirit to be with us forever.
Letting go isn’t always easy. Some behaviors, possessions, accomplishments, people and memories can be hard to let go of. Letting go opens us up to more growth in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Simply put, unless we let go, we can’t receive the blessings. God promises that when we let go, we open ourselves up to the opportunity for better things. Remember, the trees are at their most beautiful when they are in the process of letting go!