Have you ever stopped to think how exhausting harvest time is? All the canning, freezing, gathering, butchering, cleaning, wood-chopping... all before the snow flies. Before winter's cold fingers wrap around each day and the land lies dormant, waiting until springtime for life to sprout forth once again. In fact, all the seasons are equal in length, three months each, yet winter seems so much longer.
We work excitedly from the first growing blade of green sprouting grass to the shortening days of fall to plant, water, tend--all to pluck from the vine at just the right moment. The pinnacle of the all the seasons is the harvest. The climax, the long awaited fruit of the vine, ripened to perfection. We celebrate it and give thanks.
Then we chop, slice, grind, cook, freeze, crush it--the fruit of our lives. It sustains us even as we are exhausted by its procurement. But upon our fullness, at the end of the harvest, we are saddened the life circle has come to an end. But has it? I dread winter, but know that it is necessary. There is a time for everything and winter reminds me that there is a time to rest, sleep, lay dormant, hibernate--to wait for life anew. To trust in its coming.
Harvest time reminds me of Christ's word's in John 12: 24:
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." Jesus spoke these words right before he foretold of his death.
Wine cannot be made without crushing the grape, nor bread without crushing the wheat--and the wine and bread give life just as Christ gives to us. And when we partake of the wine and the bread, we remember Christ's gift of life to us.
So, even though I was outwardly exhausted this week from all the harvest, I was reminded of its blessing that brings life to us. And I was glad that Jesus used the simple seasons in His creation to show us how He works in our lives spiritually.
I wonder, is the harvest gathering time really the pinnacle after all? Or is it really the life that springs forth from what has fallen to the ground and dies? Resurrected.
What fruit is ripe in your life? What grain must be crushed to bring life in a time of winter?
May God give us wisdom to recognize our seasons, and patience to wait for new things.