Anyone who knows me knows this is my favorite time of year. I love almost everything about it. The scent of pumpkin spice and burning leaves, the cooler days and crisp nights, the promise that Christmas is so close I can almost taste the cranberries.

autumn-leavesThen there are the trees—a cozy blanket in shades of red and yellow and green that warms the earth and my heart. I regularly drive by a tree-lined street not far from my house where the leaves stretch across the road like a two-block gazebo. Yesterday it had reached its peak of autumn color and I almost drove off the road staring at it.

And I thought, “He didn’t have to.” It’s just one of many wonderful things God did while creating the world that brings us pleasure … and He didn’t have to.

He gave us seasons—each one so different and all with something to love. With those seasons, we have the circle of life. In the fall, as the colder temps kill the plants in preparation for winter, He could have given us leaves that simply turned brown and fell off. But He didn’t.

He could have made food that was only sustenance for our survival, not something to be enjoyed. But He gave us taste buds and chocolate and fall-off-the-bone barbecue ribs.

He bestowed each of us with our own unique sense of humor and the laughter that goes with it—gifts to share with those we love. He created kissing. We don’t need it but … wow. In the same vein, He could have made sex utilitarian for the procreation of children. But He didn’t.

So many things that could have been different. Boring. Plain. And if He’d made it that way, we wouldn’t now know the beauty of a sunset over a field of oaks and aspens and maples in mid-October.

The epiphany I had about this last night occurred as I was listening to a worship song that fit the moment perfectly. It all combined to remind me of God’s deep, unfailing love for me. I’ve been going through a rougher-than-usual time lately, and that reminder was just what I needed.

He loves us unconditionally. He didn’t have to.

But He did.

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