Reflections - Be Fruitful

Eleanor Deckert

Have you noticed the Mountain Ash this year? The boughs are hanging heavily down with the weight of the fruit. I wonder - is this a sign of a harsh winter? Are there other exceptionally large berry and fruit crops?

I recently passed through the Okanagan Valley. Early September is an amazing time of year. Grapes hang like a purple mist. Red apples stand out from the green foliage. Imagine! Every child with one apple in their lunch box, multiplied by 180 days of school. How many apples is that?

Fruit stands pour their offerings towards the winding roadways. Bright squash, astonishing melons, fragrant pears, plump plums, bins of onions and garlic, golden corn, abundant potatoes, glistening jars of jam and honey and cider. There is enough fruit to last a whole year until next harvest. And pumpkins! Look at the field! Orange globes wait for eager children who are counting the days until the costumed festivities.

Baskets. Bins. Boxes. Overflowing. Fruitful.

As I admire the orchards, fields and livestock grazing, I realize the wonder and the work that goes into the foods we will eat through the winter.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was able to convey the significance of the farmer in her book about her husband, Almanzo when she wrote “Farmer Boy”.

“A farmer depends on himself, and the land and the weather. If you're a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You'll be free and independent, son, on a farm.”

We all benefit from the work of the farmer. Now is the time to realize it.

Abundance. Bounty. Cornucopia. Harvest time.

As I drive and soak in the fall colours, memory verses also come to mind: “Be fruitful and multiply. ”(Gen. 1:26-31). “I have given you every plant yielding seed... and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.”

Jesus taught the crowds: “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Matt. 7:16.

Ancient words of wisdom: “Honour the Lord with your substance and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.” Proverbs 3:9

Which brings me to another thought - the universal custom of Thanksgiving at harvest time.

Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. The earth is rich. The autumn leaves paint the mountains. The fireplace feels cozy on a clear night.

Nobody rushes around to buy or sell or mail anything. No one worries about decorations, or new clothes, or kids getting stuffed with candy. It is all so very basic - give thanks.

We live in a country that is big and beautiful, a safe place to live and travel, a country that values the individual and works as a team. We can choose how to educate our children and how to worship. We can relocate and retrain. We can be active participants or passive bystanders. We have freedom to choose.

I stop for a moment to concentrate. Who made the air I breathe? The water I drink? The food I eat? The world I live in? Who am I addressing when I say, “Thank-you”?

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy is forever.” Psalm 107:1

I have always wondered about the Jewish holidays marked on my September calendar. Rosh Hashanah, also called “The Festival of Trumpets,” is first celebrated on the New Moon.

“The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’” Yom Kippur is known as the Day of Atonement. Among the specific details of the actions of the priest and the people, this is where we get the word “scapegoat” because the sins of the people were tied to the horns of a goat, which was sent into the wilderness to cleanse the people (Lev. 23:23-32).

Sukkot is celebrated as the Festival of Tabernacles on the full moon (Lev. 23:33-44).

The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites… 'beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the Lord for seven days... take branches from luxuriant trees - from palms, willows and other leafy trees - and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days... Live in temporary shelters for seven days... so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.’”

Like the ancient people, today I am aware of the Giver, thankful for the gifts, prepared for winter.