Almost Autumn

Thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house.  (Deuteronomy 26: 11)

I’m beginning to get fall fever. Each day I awaken to subtle changes in the mountain landscape. Yellowing leaves peek out from among the green treetops hinting at the nearness of a new season. The woods are perfumed in their musky-sweet fall fragrance. It’s only a matter of time before the mountains will come alive with splashes of golden yellow, pumpkin orange, and crimson red, as they proudly display their new fall attire.

Chilly mornings make me think about pots of vegetable soup, chili, and beef stew simmering on the stove. I can almost smell pumpkin pie and nut-speckled pumpkin bread cooling on the counter. Apple pies, apple crisps, and apple dumplings will soon make their appearance in my kitchen. Gingerbread topped with dollops of rich whipped cream is another fall favorite at my house.

I love the fall season, and it brings out my domestic side more than other seasons. I especially enjoy autumn decorating. The house always looks brighter with the addition of plump pumpkins, colorful leaves, and the loudly dressed scarecrow dolls I made years ago while my babies and toddlers were tucked in bed for their afternoon naps.

As homemakers, the changing of seasons allows us the perfect opportunity to express our creativity. Like artists, we can transform our homes into a beautiful scene using the colors of fall.  I believe God gifted women with an amazing talent to transform any home into a lovely place. Proverbs, chapter 31, describes a godly woman as she looks well to the ways of her household. Titus, chapter 2, again speaks of the importance of a woman’s role in the home.

The size or style of our home doesn’t matter. It does not matter if we are single or married. God entrusted us with the care of our homes, and I think decorating a home is part of that loving care, whether our home is a tiny apartment or a big house in the country. A home is a sanctuary. It should represent a place where we feel safe. It’s a place where we can meet with God, family, and friends. It’s the place we go to be revived and restored.

Our homes should be a haven of rest, a place of retreat from a harsh world. Home should be the place we long to return to at the end of a day out. It should be a place that makes an impression on those who visit. And making an impression has nothing to do with the cost of our home or whether or not we have new furniture.

Creating a loving and inviting home does not require massive amounts of money or expensive decor. Something as simple as a basket of fall leaves, gathered outdoors, makes a cozy and colorful centerpiece for the dining room table. A few colorful pumpkins near the front door is a cheerful welcome to arriving guests. A bouquet of fresh-picked sunflowers makes a dramatic statement when placed in an entryway. The great thing about fall decorating is it’s often as simple as bringing the things of nature inside to brighten the home.

Most important of all, we need to make sure our homes reflect our faith. Do we show hospitality to others by inviting them into our homes for a meal or tea? Do we make time for friends and family in the midst of our busy days? Do the movies and TV shows we watch in our homes reflect our faith? What about the magazines we subscribe to or the websites we visit? What about how we spend our time? If someone were to visit our home unexpectedly, would they be able to tell we are a person of faith by what they would find inside our home?

The foundation of every beautiful home is the Lord. Unless our home is built on our faith in the Lord, we labor in vain. No amount of lovely fall decorating can make up for a home that isn’t built on a solid foundation.

Unless the Lord builds the house, the workers labor in vain.

Psalm 127: 1

When I was growing up, women would start their fall cleaning tasks in September. Clutter was cleared out, curtains and walls were washed, and the entire house got a thorough cleaning. This is a tradition that seems to have faded away over the years.

However, though that tradition may be a thing of the past, the autumn season is still  the perfect time to give our homes a good cleaning. As we prepare to decorate with the lovely fall colors, maybe it would be a good time to take stock of our homes and see if there is anything that needs tossed out.

Do we need to clear out selfish pursuits and make more time to show hospitality by inviting others to our home? What about those TV shows and movies that don’t reflect our faith? Maybe it’s time for them to go, along with the magazines and websites that aren’t suitable for women who represent Christ.

Maybe we need to simplify, clean out our excess, and donate items we don’t use to charity. Maybe we need to clean up our speech and not get caught up in coarse joking, unwholesome language, or gossip within the walls of our homes. Maybe we need to get rid of discontentment with what we have and stop longing for more or new or better things. Maybe we need to stop spending money on unnecessary items and donate money to a local food bank or ministry.

Once we finish our fall cleaning, we need to make sure our home is built on a firm foundation of faith in Christ. With our home built on the right foundation, we can decorate and transform our home into a welcoming  sanctuary enhanced by the beautiful colors of autumn.

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