This morning when I woke up, I put on a cozy sweater and spent a few minutes sitting in the chair in my living room, watching the autumn breeze ruffle through the gold-burnished leaves of the tree outside my window. Fall is without a doubt my favorite season of the year – which could be due to the fact that for most of my life I lived in Florida, where Fall isn’t really anything so much as, “that last part of the summer.” It wasn’t until I went to college in Tennessee that I experienced a true crisp-air, leaves-changing, hot-chocolate drinking, baking-inspiring Fall, but I’ve adored it ever since. I may not have known what Fall was really about until I experienced it, but now that I’ve seen trees flaming with red and glowing with orange, and felt the chilly clear air stinging my cheeks, I’ll never forget it – and I’ll always hope for another chance to revel in its beauty.

Along with the cool weather of this, my favorite season, comes the Thanksgiving holiday and the time when we reflect on God’s blessings and the things that bring joy to our lives. When I think about Thanksgiving, what returns to my mind again and again is how grateful I am for grace. I am thankful for the grace displayed by my parents as they lovingly raised me, sent me out as an adult and patiently allowed me to make mistakes while I found my own footing in faith. I am thankful for the grace of so many others who have spent time encouraging me along my path, have taught me how to live through the life of Christ, and have assisted me as I became the person I am today. I am thankful for the grace shown by my friends, who have truly stood by me in both good and bad times and never fail to support me. And, of course, I am most thankful for the grace given to me by God through the life, death and resurrection of His precious son Jesus.

I believe that grace is actually quite a lot like my favorite season. If we have heard about grace and read about it, but never experienced it, we’ll can’t truly understand its beauty. Our idea of it is vague at best, paling in comparison with the reality. But when grace is poured out on us in all of its wonder and loveliness, overflowing from the heart of God and through His representatives on earth, we can never forget what it feels like. It surrounds us, consumes us and we are forever changed. We become like those autumn leaves, lives glowing with newfound color and vibrancy as we are touched by the glory of His grace. Out of that transformative experience comes a natural outpouring from our hearts to God. And what is that outpouring? Thanksgiving, of course!

2 Corinthians 4:13-15

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.