The Catchin’ Up On The Slide Show, A Very Belated Merry Christmas And Info On How To Make Maple Syrup!

I don’t understand how I get so incredibly busy. I still want to talk about Christmas and New Years, even though it is nearly the first of March! I have had an incredibly difficult time trying to put this slide show together for you. Please forgive my tardiness. I am sorry there isn’t any music. Perhaps you can play your favorite Christmas song while you watch. ūüėÄ

 



Did you know that the¬†Christmas holiday originated not from the awesome story of the Biblical first Christmas, but was celebrated by pagans? The pagans celebrated the birthday of their sun-god on December 25. The early Catholic church decided to compromise with them to try to make it a “Christian” holiday. Instead of worshipping the sun god, they changed the¬†worship to¬†the Son of God. And that’s why “Christmas” is on December 25.

Christ was actually born in the spring. Many historians agree on that. It would make sense that the Lamb of God should be born the same time lambing season in Israel is- springtime. Also, Judea is known for having tremendous amounts of snow. It would be silly to think that poor shepherds, who could hardly afford clothing for themselves and their families,¬†would be “abiding in the fields” in the middle of a bitterly cold winter.

However, Christmas is not about the sun-god, Christmas trees, or Santa Claus. Santa Claus is not real whatsoever. Jesus is! How do I know that? I know because Jesus lives in my heart, and changed me! The true meaning of Christmas is Jesus Christ, and what He did for us. God gave us the greatest gift that night, and He even wrapped It in swaddling clothes. He presented It in the sweet, humble form of a baby.

But, sometimes, people forget that He isn’t still a baby in a manger. Jesus Christ grew up, and gave His very life so you could live eternally with God in Heaven. He took your sin upon Himself, so that you could stand holy before God, if you will only believe and accept His Gift. The best part is, it’s free! He is holding out this gift to you¬†that He purchased with His very own Life’s Blood! All you must do is to accept. There is nothing you or I can do to repay Him. The only thing¬†He wants, is you. A completely surrendered heart. He loves you!

Let us follow in Christ’s footsteps, and give. Life isn’t about how much you can get, but how much you can willingly and humbly give. After all, that is what Jesus did, and He never boasted about the works and service He did, but He gave the glory to the Father. Don’t give and expect anything in return, for that is selfishness. Don’t just give at Christmastime. What you give doesn’t even have to be of any monetary value! Give someone your time, your love, and your efforts to make their lives just a bit easier. Give them up to the Lord in prayer. That’s one of the greatest things you can do for someone!

I must mention, that Jesus is not left hanging on the cross or buried in a tomb, either. He rose again, and defeated even the worst-feared enemy- death! He buried our sins with Him, and when He resurrected, gave us new life! The True Christmas story is not complete without the True Easter story; they go hand in hand.

*HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
61-1217 CHRISTIANITY VERSUS IDOLATRY REV. WILLIAM BRANHAM
63-1216 WE HAVE SEEN HIS STAR IN THE EAST REV. WILLIAM BRANHAM
http://www.nccg.org/241Art-6April.html SECTION 4.


In the beginning of February, my family went to a wedding of some friends of ours. We enjoyed our weekend, and we hope the newlyweds enjoy their married life.



The past two weeks have been involved with making maple syrup.  The following steps you need to take are below:

  • Get the idea in your head.
  • Find yourselves some maple trees. Sugar maples (usually maples with red leaves in fall) usually have a higher sugar content than regular maples.
  • Decide which method of collection you want to use.¬†One of the most common methods, is¬†metal buckets, that include lids and hang directly underneath the tap. Another is tubing, which I will explain momentarily.
  • Right around Valentine’s Day, you’ll want to drill the holes to place your taps. There is a drill bit designed specifically for the purpose of tapping trees. A hammer for either method is a prime idea.
  • A general rule of thumb is to make sure your tree is no less than 12 inches in diameter. That size should only have one tap. You should be able to eye up about how many taps to put per tree. A really big maple tree can fit about four or five taps. You should place the taps about 9-12 inches apart. Don’t worry about “messing up”. Ya live and learn!
  • If you are using the tubing method of collection, you will need connectors, and cutters. Tubing comes in rolls, so you have to cut it to the necessary length yourself. We were told, and found it helps to have a small container of hot water to soften the ends of the tubes when you connect them.
  • You need something to collect the sap in, such as totes or (clean) ūüôā garbage cans
  • In order for sap to run, you need freezing nights, and warmish days. I can’t explain that part to you scientifically, but I’m sure there is a place you can look it up somewhere!
  • When you collect sap, you need a place to store it. We used some (clean) garbage cans, and a 55 gallon barrel that I have no idea where it came from. We just had it.¬†Sap can’t stay in warmth much more than a day, or it could spoil. Usually, if it is yellow and/or cloudy, you should dump it, not keep it. It takes approximately 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup.
  • Alright, here is the exciting part! You need to boil down the sap and evaporate a bunch of the water. Sap is generally 98% water. We have a small outdoor evaporator, and burn¬†wood to help¬†keep the temperature up.
  • We keep adding sap once it has boiled down enough to fit some more, until we are ready to retire. Then we take it to the house and finish it on our stove. In order to become syrup, the sap must come to a rolling, foamy boil of 219*F.
  • While it’s hot, strain your syrup into jars. There are special filters made for straining maple syrup.

We got about four gallons of maple syrup, and thank the Lord for His provision!

While on this subject, I was thinking about how our lives are like sap. God takes us from out of the world (the tree), strains out all the yucky stuff (bugs, bark, etc.), and puts us through difficult tests (boils over the fire). The end result is sweet and lovely. Our looks are different, our “tastes” are different, we even feel different on the inside! God completely changes our lives for the better, even if we feel awful while going through the boiling process.



Well, I hope you enjoyed my rather lengthy post, and I profusely apologize for taking so long to post!

What’d y’all think about the slide show?

What is your take on the birth of Jesus Christ?

Have you ever made maple syrup?

~God Bless You!

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