Perhaps it is not a coincidence that Thanksgiving—and other harvest festivals around the world—take place during the end of autumn. As the vibrant days of summer turn to autumn’s harvest, we pivot toward the soon-to-be season of dormancy and darkness. Author Catherine McNiel writes about the spiritual value to be found in every season of life, including seasons of dormancy, because in God’s creation “nothing is wasted. Fruits and vegetables may be harvested to provide life for another creature, but even if left to rot on the vine or in the field, they will fall and feed the soil, the worms and fungus recycling them back into the ground, readying them to spring forth into new life. Nothing is ever wasted or destroyed: only transformed. If this is the way God acts throughout creation, mightn’t we expect him to work this way in our spirits as well? All our efforts, disappointments, victories, and failures—in his Kingdom, nothing is wasted. He is taking it all, shaping it, forming us, steadfastly working toward his own harvest festival in a world made new. … Is this why he exhorts us to rejoice ‘in all circumstances?’ … Because he is always, always making things new” (Catherine McNiel, All Shall Be Well: Awakening to God’s Presence in His Messy, Abundant World [Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2019], 100–101).
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