Fall is here. It’s the season of pumpkins, falling leaves, bright colors and hot drinks. If you live in certain regions of the U.S., then it’s a time to grab a sweatshirt and blanket and breathe in the crisp, cool air.

Fall can also be a season to recommit to faith formation, especially this year as we Lutherans approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

With the changing season, I’m thinking about the ways my family can learn and share and grow in our faith. Here’s what’s on our fall to-do list:

Celebrate the table

Martin Luther often gathered with family, friends and visitors at the table. They shared meals and conversation. They opened their lives to one another. They learned and listened. Fall is a great time to enjoy a simple meal and conversation at the table. Invite your neighbors or someone you’d like to get to know better to dinner with your family. You could even put a picnic table in your front yard and see who stops by for conversation.

Celebrate trees

Martin Luther is often (mis)quoted as saying, “If I knew the world was to end tomorrow, I would still plant an apple tree today.” Many groups have engaged in projects to plant trees to observe the Reformation. As a family, you might go to a nursery and buy a tree. Plant one in your yard or see if your church could use another tree. Say a prayer and give thanks for the life of the tree and the future generations that will experience its growth.

Celebrate leaves

Fall is a season that brings forth the beauty of God’s creation. As a family, collect fall leaves. Admire their beauty. You could create a collage of leaves or use them as stencils. Try decorating your home with pieces of nature—leaves, seeds, acorns. Be creative and use nature as your canvas. (Whenever my toddler daughter paints or colors, I’m amazed at what she creates!) Perhaps you can make your own Luther seal from what you find in nature.

Celebrate songs

There’s something about the fall that makes me want to gather around a campfire and sing. Maybe you don’t have a campfire, but as a family you can gather in your home or at church and sing songs. Invite everyone to share their favorite song or hymn and sing together. You don’t need a piano or organ, just your voices. As we come closer to the Reformation anniversary, you could share the hymns of Martin Luther with your family.

Celebrate pumpkins

Pumpkins are everywhere! Pick some pumpkins and enjoy the fun of carving them as a family. You can use the pumpkin as a way to share gratitude. Have members of the family write on the outside of the pumpkin what they are thankful for. Use the time to talk together about all the blessings in your life.

Celebrate rest

I constantly need to be reminded to slow down, to be still and to know God. This fall as school is in full swing and sports and church and other activities fill our calendars, be mindful to carve out space to rest and be present to God. The changing seasons teach us that life is about death and new life, rest and renewal. This fall, embrace rest and know God’s presence.

Here’s to a fall loving, living, learning and resting in God’s grace!

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is kimberlyknowlezeller.com.

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