The shortest season of the year.
Or at least, so it seems.
Summer is gone before it even begins and Labor Day is upon us before we even get a good swim in. Languid summer days wane as autumn approaches, and you can sense the impending change in the atmosphere.
Right around the end of August, I always find myself wrapping up summer projects, cleaning out closets and clothes, rearranging furniture and changing wall colors. For me, end of summer is a time of contemplation, reflection and self-evaluation and signals a time of preparation for the new season ahead. It’s also a time when I feel the urge to buy myself some new office supplies.
The brand new notebooks, freshly sharpened pencils, brand new box of crayons. With book bags zipped, lunches packed, and pencils sharpened, children across the U.S. are returning to school. One can’t help but get nostalgic upon seeing all the back to school advertisements.
Whether or not you’re a student, there’s just something about school supplies that makes us ‘want to go to school’…or is that just me?? Somehow I don’t think so.
I think most of you reading this right now are nodding your head and saying…’yes, it’s true’.
September, with its back-to-school theme, cooler days, and swirl of changing leaves, feels bright, new, and hopeful. So, as I buy the freshly sharpened pencils and blank notebooks for the kids, ripe with creative potential, I feel like it’s a clean start for me as well, and because I’m helping get their lives organized for a successful year, I take the opportunity to think about and organize mine. With the lazy days of summer behind me, Fall is a harvest time of creativity, and I’m inspired to hit the re-start button on my life and sort myself out.
I love Fall. It is my favorite season. My favorite time of year. The crisp, cool air. All things apple, pumpkin and squash. Deep autumn colors and rich nubbly sweaters. Fall…there is an air of excitement and expectation to this time of year.
Summer is over and the Fall brings fresh beginnings and new possibilities. I don’t know about you but for me, September always feels more like the new year than the new year…know what I mean?
You see, for me…September is my January.
Yes. Most definitely. September is the new January.
January may be the official start of the new year, but for me, September is an empty calendar and a clean slate. The air is charged with possibility and renewal. September marks the beginning of my new year.
End of summer is also the time of year where I am deeply impressed to take time out to seek the Lord in a deeper way. Its the time of year where I ‘come away’ with the Lord as He begins to speak to me about the upcoming season and future direction. You could say its the season where He begins to speak to me about the incoming “New Year”. He may start by giving me a ‘one word’ or ‘phrase’. But mostly it’s a time where I seek His heart and allow Him to search mine. And although this heart search is a daily element of my relationship with the Lord, end of summer is an ‘appointed time’ with intentional purpose. A time of intentional dialogue where He gives me what I call the New Year’s scripture and theme.
This year’s scripture is found in the prophetic book of Habakkuk, chapter 3 verse 19 and it is here in this scripture that the Lord has given me the word and direction, impartation and insight for the coming months. I’ll write more about this in another post!
The Jewish calendar marks the Jewish new year during the month of September. This year, Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) falls on the Hebrew calendar dates of 1 and 2 Tishrei which are September 24 – 26th.
In the Jewish tradition, the month of Elul (the summer month before Rosh Hashanah) is a time of repentance in preparation for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
The word “Elul” is similar to the root of the verb “search” in Aramaic. Elul is seen as a time to search one’s heart and draw close to God in preparation for the coming Day of Judgement, Rosh Hashanah and Day of Atonement Yom Kippur. The sign for the month of Elul is the sign of betulah (“virgin”), and is therefore known as the month of the bride. It is a time of special closeness between the divine Groom and His bride Israel. The Talmud writes that the Hebrew word “Elul” can be expanded as an acronym for “Ani L’dodi V’dodi Li” – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”
(Song of Solomon 6:3).
How about you? Do you feel inspired to turn over a new leaf in September? What kind of tweaks do you make during the Fall? How can you seek to make September your Elul with God. What is there in your life that may need searching, seeking, tweaking and fine-tuning?
Evaluate the year so far and consider the following:
- Have you accomplished what you’d hope to this year?
- Were the things you worked on and spent your time on fulfilling, challenging and worthwhile?
- Has something changed in your life, family, work, ministry that you should be thinking about as 2014 turns into 2015?
- Is it time to make a change?
“September is the time for reading, writing and ‘rithmetic, but it is also the season of re-evaluation, re-focus and re-firing.
A new season and a new year. So, Happy September….or better yet–Happy New Year!
Share with a comment below and let me know what the Lord is saying to you for this new season. I’d love to hear!
Grace & Peace
~ pastor m.