It is so abundantly clear to me that God wants us to be happy. For one thing, the most fundamental necessities for our survival as individuals and as the human race are the things we enjoy the most deeply and with the most relish: food, sex, relationships, etc. He could have made the world so that we were only driven to those things because we were miserable without them–instead, He made them actively enjoyable. But even more than that, He made reflections of His own self the most splendid, wildly enjoyable things. There is nothing I can think of as invigorating as nature and people, and there is nothing that reflects God Himself as much as nature and people, the things that He created. As an artist, the things I paint are the ones that flow from my soul, the things that mean so much to me that they overflow. They say a lot about me because they are a part of me. How much more true it is when God creates things, since He can do it so much better!
I want to reflect on the beauties and joys of the seasons. What a gift that God would give us such joys, joys we know more intensely the further we immerse ourselves in His creation.
I’ll start here since it’s fall now. Every year, I say that every season is my favorite when it comes, but fall is my favorite favorite. The colors of the changing leaves are enchanting, and the crisp cold breeze is just enough to make you want to snuggle into the biggest sweater you can find. The birds are still singing, the sky is still blue, and beauty intensifies daily. As I go for a walk in the midst of this glory, I am overwhelmed that God would make anything this beautiful. What also blows my mind is that He gives it to us every year–and it’s not continuous. It comes back with its fresh magic every single year, ready to enchant us all over again, to cry with renewed vigor how beautiful our God is.
Even though people complain about winter, I think it’s the perfect season for every kind of person who’s willing to notice the goodness. If you’re not a cold loving person, there is nothing cozier than curling up by a fire (or a candle) with hot chocolate or tea, a good book, and an oversized blanket while watching the snow fall gently outside the window. But the glories outside are incomparable. Every snowfall is different, and if you immerse yourself in the midst of it by skiing, snowshoeing, or anything else, you can’t help but be overwhelmed by wonder at the beauty. Snow coats the trees after an icy night. Evergreens majestically bear snow on their branches. Sunsets cast their bright rays across acres of soft white blankets to reflect magnificent colors. Mountains stand silent and regal under their robes of white. It can be easy to feel depressed from the cloudiness in the winter if you stay inside too much, but it doesn’t take much time of being immersed in the glorious outdoors at this time of year to feel renewed and overcome by a wonder that stirs in the depths of your soul.
There is nothing life-giving in quite the same way as that first day that you walk outside into the cool warmth of spring. It feels like freedom deep in your soul. You feel like everything is fresh and new, and that everything can be. As the green leaves sweep over the trees, everything feels alive and so do you. Every year as everything turns green, I realize that I forgot that beauty could look like this. It is captivating.
Summer is when creation cries out its wonders most intensely from all corners–perhaps because we’re outside to notice. The vibrant colors that streak across the sky every morning and night at sunrise and sunset. The oceans in all their power and might that cry of God’s strength and gentleness all at once. The starry night skies that teach us to ponder the endlessness of who God is and the great care He has taken in putting together every little balanced detail of the universe we live in. The flowers. The rivers and streams and brooks and creeks. The tall grass and the warm sand. The diversity of great trees, the sun with its warmth and bright rays reaching to the earth, the clouds towering in power and peace. It is all breathtaking.
We love all these things, and each one of them tells us something different about God because He made them as reflections of Himself. I love that He gives them to us in seasons so that we can discover them freshly and anew every single year.