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Thankfulness Project: Fall Leaves

I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.


“The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not know where it was from, but the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone serves the fine wine first, and then the cheap wine after the guests are drunk. But you have saved the fine wine until now!” -John 2:9-10

As a native Floridian, fall leaves were a rare treasure, a delight I would long for yearly and often not be able to see in person, until I moved further north. So I would scatter fake fall leaves across tabletops and bookshelves, post pictures as backgrounds on my laptop and phone. There is a beauty and splendor in the color of fall leaves, the riot of colors hiding under the green. My young nephew calls the orange and red leaves “fire leaves,” which isn't a far stretch looking at their colors. And the deep red leaves that seem to appear last and linger longest, last but not least, are my favorite.

Anthocyanins are compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they give certain plants a very dark hue. Nutritionists and professional bodybuilders know that certain dark foods contain anti-inflammatory abilities, such as tart cherries, and they use these foods to help reduce inflammation and swelling. Those who lift weights consistently are essentially tearing and rebuilding their muscles, making them stronger, so they understand the desire to reduce the pain that comes with inflammation and growing muscles. They know the value of certain anti-inflammatory foods, even if they don’t know the full science behind anthocyanins. The truth of their usefulness remains.


Other foods that get their color from these anthocyanins are blackberries, blueberries, plums, red cabbage, and dark grapes, such as what’s used for red wine. The reason that late fall leaves have such a dark, burgundy-red, almost blood-red color, is also because of these anthocyanins. What’s peculiar about these dark red leaves is, while yellow leaves appear because the chlorophyll is draining out of early fall leaves back into the trunk of the tree, and the yellow pigment is what’s left behind, the red leaves are as a result of the tree expending more energy, creating anthocyanins, instead of conserving energy, like with yellow leaves. So it takes more effort for a tree to show those gorgeous, deep red leaves, at a time when it seems they should be conserving energy for the harsh trials of the coming winter.

All this reminds me of one of my favorite Bible stories, found in John 2:1-11, the wedding feast at Cana. Jesus’ time to perform miracles had not yet come. But at a wedding feast (these were often a week long) the wine ran out, and Jesus’ mother Mary asked Him to help, believing in Him so much that she told the servants to do whatever He commanded them to. Then He performed His first miracle, turning water into wine. He expended energy (though His power is limitless) doing a miracle, when it seemed He should have still been conserving it for the time and trials to come. He made clear water into deep, blood-red wine to celebrate a wedding, a union between a bride and a groom. Some believe the reason this was His first miracle was as a foreshadowing of the Last Supper and His blood which would be shed on the cross a few hours after that; the blood of the covenant, the blood of the Holy Groom, shed for His bride: Israel, the Gentiles, all the people who would believe on His name, His church. His first miracle—wine poured out for a wedding feast—represented His last human miracle—His life and blood poured out for sin—so that we, His bride, may all sit and feast with Him one day in heaven. The last wine at the wedding feast of Cana was the best, the best reserved for last, just as the last feast in heaven will be the best of feasts, with all believers through all time, together with our Savior for eternity.


Whenever I go for a walk under a canopy of fall leaves, these blood red ones delight me the most, and remind me of the deep color of red wine, Jesus' first miracle. When I run through a neighborhood with red leaves scattered like drops of blood on the ground as my feet fly by, I smile, thinking of the drops of blood at the foot of Calvary that wiped my sins away, washed me clean forever, and allow me entrance into the kingdom of heaven. When I see the way God displays His splendor in nature, and reminds us in thousands of ways how many times and ways He loves us, and all He’s done for us, I smile, and thank Him. How could I not? The red cherry, the holly berry, the dark grape, the burgundy leaf, the anthocyanins and science behind these pigments—all things testify to the Son’s sacrifice and the Father’s love. Everything was created for His glory; all things were made to praise Him. And so will I.

For more verses about God's splendor displayed in nature, read Psalm 19:1-6.


© 2020 Amanda Lorenzo

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