“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)
One of my favorite military customs was always Hail and Farewells. It was a perfect opportunity to gather a unit or part of a unit for a special time. We would recognize those who are departing, and share a few memories of what they meant to us. We would also welcome newcomers, and express our optimism on their contributions to the ongoing mission. All of this was done in a festive atmosphere of food and fun.
In a way, September is a kind of Hail and Farewell month. We are forced to say goodbye to the Summer season. As we farewell the warm days of those months, we remember the gatherings of family and friends, the trips, the experiences, and the long days of sunlight.
At the same time, we welcome the Autumn months, with the changing hues of the trees, the cooler temperatures, and the wonderful special days that lie ahead.
But for some, the memories of Summer were not so pleasant, and they wonder what to expect from the Fall. The good news is that while the seasons may change along with the circumstances of our lives, our God never changes. Because He never lets us down, we can look at the future with confidence.
Change is inevitable. The times, the seasons, the events of our lives change constantly. But we can have hope and even optimism as we enter the Fall season, because our God is always with us, His promises remain true, and He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. This is what James is telling us in our verse for today.
I therefore want to be the first to welcome you to the Hail and Farewell of September. Farewell Summer, we will miss you. But we expectantly welcome the Fall months. We look forward to what the future holds, because we know who holds our future in His hands.
Almighty and Gracious Father, thank you that with all the changes around me, you remain constant in your love and faithfulness to me. Help me to care for others as you care for me. Amen.