I can’t prove this, of course, but I think God made fall just for family and friends. Anytime is a great time for being with those we love and appreciate, but fall seems special. Think about the reasons why this time of year is a great time for relationships and reunions:
•School. This is a huge one. As much as kids imply that they don’t like school, most kids love the social reunion that returning to school brings. But it’s not just the kids—parents enjoy seeing each other again at school and sporting events.
•Church. Because of travel and vacations, some churches make adjustments to their regularly scheduled programs during the summer. But after summer is over, everything gets back to normal. Suddenly, you’re seeing friends at church and in small groups that you’ve not seen consistently during the summer.
•Thanksgiving. If there’s one event where families and friends connect, it has to be Thanksgiving. It seems people like to celebrate Christmas—at least Christmas morning—with just family. (It’s hard to travel with all those presents, right?) But in America, Thanksgiving is the day we fling open the doors, tell people to bring a dish, spread it all out, and thank God for the blessings we enjoy.
•Christmas. If Thanksgiving is the holiday of food and fun, Christmas is the holiday of love. In spite of the commercialization of Christmas, we can choose to focus on making memories year after year that remind us of God’s amazing gift of love to us. As we attend special events and celebrate the Lord’s birth, we are inevitably drawn closer to those we love as family and friends.
Lump those four dynamics together—school, church, and the two holidays—and fall arrives with more reasons to celebrate than any other season of the year.
This Fall and Your Family
Let’s face it—we know how to do friends and family in the fall. But I want to encourage you to put your prayerful, creative hat on and consider how you can touch a family member in a unique way during this time of year. It’s so easy to take family for granted! Write down some ways that you can express your love and appreciation for your family, and then carry them out. Make this season a time to refocus on your family.
This Fall and Your Friends
Family is central, of course. But the Bible says, and demonstrates, something about friends that highlights their importance: “There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24b). Friends become important for this reason: Within the family, people are expected to love one another. But outside the family, special love and loyalty aren’t required—so when they are demonstrated, it makes friendships special.
In the Old Testament, Jonathan and David weren’t family, but they stuck “closer than a brother” to each other (1 Samuel 18-20). I hope you have one or more loyal and faithful friends—if you do, come up with creative ways to express your affection for them in the coming days and months.
Family, Friends, and Finality
Acclaimed author of legal thrillers, John Grisham, had a good friend who died at age 25. When his friend dropped the bombshell that he had terminal cancer, Grisham asked, “What do you do when you realize that you are about to die?”
His friend said, “You get things right with God, and you spend as much time with those you love as you can. Then you settle up with everybody else.”
It was what his friend said next that left an impression on Grisham: “You know, really, you ought to live every day like you have only a few more days to live.”
Those words have a biblical ring, don’t they? Mature Christians are not afraid of dying or what might happen in the future. But they also know that our time and our plans are not our own; we don’t presume on the future. If there are family and friends to whom you need to express your love and gratitude, now is the time to do so. Treasure the season and those you love.
 Will Norton, Jr., “The Write Stuff,” Aspire, November 1995, 55.
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