Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Frost on the Pumpkin, Dust on the Bible

I remember waking up to the radio alarm one day to the refrain “Hello country bumpkin, how’s the frost out on the pumpkin?” My wife and I laughed and laughed at such words to be awakened with. In this season of the fall harvest when pumpkins seem to spring up everywhere, I think about those days of innocence, those days when our biggest concern was the frost on the pumpkin.

 At this time of the year our nation celebrates Halloween’s many activities, which includes carving out pumpkins and sitting them on the front porch steps. It has become a family tradition for millions of people. Yet very few use the bounty of the pumpkin for food. 

 One year at this time we had so many real pumpkins on our porch, fake pumpkins in the flowerbeds, and even giant blow up plastic pumpkins in the front yard that we earned the title, “The Pumpkin house,” from the neighborhood kids. But we didn’t eat a single one! (Pumpkin, not kids).

 Now here we are again in the fall season when these orange spheres show up in front yards like dandelions on a summer day. We surround ourselves with this beautiful bounty as decoration but the food within we discard on newspaper.

 The Bible says, “Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee” (Psalm 116:7 KJV). Are we enjoying the bounty?

The poet John Greenleaf Whittier, who was born in Massachusetts in 1807, wrote:

“The Pumpkin” (1850)
Oh! Fruit loved of boyhood! The old days recalling.
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in it’s skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!

Back in the olden days, a carved pumpkin was placed on the family hearth to keep evil spirits from coming down the chimney and into the home to do their dastardly deeds.

Today, in homes across America many have replaced this use of the carved pumpkin with the Bible. Now bear with me a moment. We set the Bible out on the coffee table, enjoy its beauty, and yet rarely pick it up. We know that it holds a bounty within, yet we don’t feast on the rich food of the word when it’s sitting right here in front of us. We dust it, and display it with pride when visitors come, yet how many times, like the pumpkin, does it end up just sitting on a newspaper?

The food within the Bible nourishes our spiritual man within, yet we are starving ourselves and allowing the spirits to enter our homes through the modern day chimney, the television. Now that’s scary.  Wouldn’t our fore-bearers be aghast if they could see us today. We might call them superstitious for trying to ward off evil spirits with a carved pumpkin, but what would they say about us for not even trying.

The wonderful bounty of the pumpkin awaits the pies, while the life giving food in the Bible awaits our eyes.  This season, when you see the pumpkin carved so ingeniously and sitting on the porch, remind yourself of the Bible written so divinely and sitting on your table. It has a candle within which will never go out, and will keep every evil spirit at bay.

Inside the Bible it says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105 KJV).

So hello County Bumpkin! How’s the frost out on the pumpkin? Hello modern rival! How’s the dust out on the Bible? Happy Feasting!

Friday, October 25, 2013


toddler eating mudHow many times have we heard a child’s bad or unusual behavior described as, “Oh, he’s just going through a phase.” I remember that when my sister Carmen was a toddler, she would eat dirt. Yes dirt!

We would find her in the back yard sitting on the ground with her hands covered in dirt and a ring of black dirt around her mouth. We ask her if she was eating dirt and she would shake her little head back and forth and say, “nooooo!”

 Although it was comical, our Mom was worried and so off to the doctor they went. He assured Mom that Carmen was fine and prescribed coffee grounds. His advice was to give her dry coffee grounds to play in because, “She is just going through a phase.” He was right. The dry coffee grounds broke her of eating dirt. Phase over.

 My brother Chris went through a childhood phase when he was determined to drop eggs from his second floor bedroom window to watch them splatter on the driveway below. Mom didn’t take him to the doctor. He was taken to the world of hurt. Ha.

 The truth of the matter is that we all go through phases in our life growing up as kids and teens. As we grow older, phases turn into Era’s. Mostly we look back and laugh, but some phases in our life can make us cry. Illness, bad relationships, and failures can leave us filled with regret, which is the nature of life.

But when we follow Christ, we have the assurance of hope, forgiveness and another new beginning. Phases lived in error are forgotten by the Lord when we ask for forgiveness. The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”
(II Corinthians 5:17 KJV).

 As the Lord forgives and forgets, so should we in order to move on with our life. Often it is our own self, and the fact that we were ever in that phase, that is the hardest to forgive and forget.

The good thing is that all phases eventually come to an end. You may have come through an extended illness, a disastrous relationship, or your boss may have told you that your season of employment in the job you love is over.

If so, remember the encouraging words of the Apostle Paul, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13 NLT).

Yes there are ups and downs as we go through those pesky phases but we have the blessed assurance that this too shall pass. Except for my brother Chris, who liked to drop eggs out of the window… He became a professional chef and cracks eggs to this day.