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!