Watching the blaze of color crawl down the mountainside makes my soul sing. I don’t fully understand the scientific process but I know the result is magnificent.

Of course this bounty of color signals great change. Trees transform from lush greens to a burnish of gold, orange, and magenta. Each year these gems fall to the ground creating leafy mounds begging for child’s play. Long after the crispy piles blow away, the forest stands as a stark wonderland of shade and branches. The cycle eventually rolls on. When the weather warms and nature awakes, tiny buds usher in a renewed hope.

Our lives are like the changing seasons.

A friend and I discussed the different seasons of life and how, no matter the situation, we must keep moving forward. We work our way through – either in celebration of a joyous time or in the hope that difficulties will eventually change (much can be learned through our experiences too!).

Recently, I’ve seen and read about so many people who are one extreme or the other…really happy times or devastating events.

Ads and movies portraying a “perfect life” engulf us this time of year. Many companies try to convince us that a particular gift will bring about a trouble-free life. We can set up unrealistic expectations and suffer disappointment when we don’t look like the perfect person or family hired to play the role that sells a product.

Sometimes people around us silently suffer through the holiday season in a fog of loneliness and loss. This year I commit to reach out a hand to others in their season of struggle and joy.

Will you join me?

As we celebrate with our loved ones and post pictures of joyful moments in our lives let us also encourage those around us who are in the middle of a struggle with a quick text, email, phone call, or inspirational message. For close friends and relatives who need an extra dose of hope and love – invite them for coffee, a meal, or a musical event. Spend time and let them know you care.

The present of our presence requires willingness and love.

We know that seasons change. We can celebrate with one another or encourage each other to move forward in hope.

Let’s change someone’s season with love this year!

(When has someone reached out to offer you hope? What did they do to see you through a difficult time?)