I’ll admit my expectations weren’t high given the long drought this year and the unseasonably warm temperatures. It’s not Vermont or Maine, after all. Despite my reservations, I set out with every intention of enjoying our time together.
The day dawned with a crispness that encouraged a light jacket, and a brightness that made me squint behind dark sunglasses. A few puffy, white clouds paraded across a sky of Robin’s Egg blue. And then we reached the foothills.
Stunning! Magnificent! Spectacular! Words are not sufficient to describe the beauty set before us, and this only a tiny sample of God’s artistic genius. We traveled along winding roads and hairpin turns, up inclines that made the bus’s engine growl, and slow descents into pastoral valleys where each turn brought new marvels. The colors boggled my imagination. Hunter Green, Fiery Orange, Blazing Red, and all those delicate, in-between shades that beg for exotic names like crimson, ocher, cerise, chartreuse, terra cotta, burnt sienna, primrose, vermillion. And when the sun set them ablaze like a hint of God’s Shekinah glory.
“Ooh” and “Ahh” became the watchwords of the day. At one point, I feared for the safety of my fellow passengers as everyone clambered from side-to-side, eager to snap yet another remarkable picture, all while the bus driver wound his way through the twisty curves.
Somewhere in the middle of all this grandeur, a profound thought took root in my mind. Autumn is the season when life wanes and death draws near … and here we sat celebrating the life and death of a dying thing.
Mankind is also a dying thing.
Instead of joy, we experience sadness when a loved one leaves this world ahead of us, but grief is a selfish emotion, one focused on the survivor.
Christians mourn and feel the same loss, but with one difference. We can rejoice over a fellow believer’s homegoing. We can celebrate his life because of the promise and hope of our faith. For Christians, winter is not the end, but a new beginning, a new spring, a new life. Eternity realized.
The Christmas holiday falls in the dead of winter, a time we remember that God sent His Only Son to us as a baby, a boy child who would save a dark world. Jesus is the reason for our hope. He is the promise of Christmas.
Elizabeth also shared a recipe for PRALINES! Whether you call them Pray-leens or Prah-leens, these are bound to be delicious!
MAMA'S SOUTHERN PRALINES
|Learn more about Elizabeth Noyes|
and her books at her author page
on the Write Integrity Press site.
1½ c. Granulated sugar
¾ c. Light brown sugar (packed)
½ c. + 2 T. Half & Half cream
½ stick Butter
1½ c. Pecans
1 t. Vanilla
· Assemble all ingredients and necessary items before you start.
· Cover a cutting board or cookie sheet with waxed paper. (Mixture will be hot and could damage a table or countertop. The heat will melt the wax from the paper onto the surface.)
· Combine all ingredients except the pecans and vanilla in a heavy saucepan. Mixture will be thick.
· Stir until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to a low boil. Stir occasionally and sparingly, spooning any undissolved sugar up the sides of the pan to melt.
· Cook until the mixture reaches the softball stage, or 239° using a candy thermometer.
· Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and the pecans, and continue a slow stir until the mixture begins to thicken and becomes creamy and cloudy. Drop by spoonfuls onto the waxed paper to harden.
· If the candy begins to harden too fast while you drop it, stir in 1-2 T. of warm water to thin the mixture. Don’t add too much; just enough to allow the mixture to settle into a “puddle.”
· When cooked to the correct temperature, the mixture will harden with minutes. If cooked too long, the dropped spoonful will remain sticky and never firm up. (Pralines should be firm, yet creamy.)
· Pralines should be eaten right away, but can be stored in an airtight container for a couple of days.
May your Christmas be one filled with hope and expectation for the future the Lord holds for you!