Friends, this is my last recipe in my blackberry collection for this year, and this is one that takes a bit of time to come to fruition. It takes a fine drink to a new level of enjoyment.
2 kg washed blackberries
250 g sugar
1 bottle of blended whiskey. (It can be made with a bottle of Vodka instead of whiskey if you prefer this as a drink)
Put the blackberries in a large glass jar that can be sealed. Eg a Kilner jar, or glass sweet jar.
Chop up lemon and add to mixture
Pour in the whiskey
Put in a cool dark cupboard
Every couple of days give it a shake
After a couple of weeks, or when the sugar has completely dissolved shake then once a week
It will be just about drinkable after three months but improves greatly if left for a year. It makes a fine Chr
Strain through fine sieve and bottle.
Drink sensibly and enjoy
_ The real meaning of Christmas seems to have become lost or unknown to lots of people . Some think Christmas is all about -
The tree and the decorations – The Christmas tree became popular in England in 1841 when Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, brought a Christmas tree over from Germany and put it in Windsor Castle. The Royal couple were illustrated in a newspaper standing around the Christmas tree with their children, and the tradition of decorating a tree became fashionable.
Others think Christmas is all about Santa Claus – Much of the tradition about Father Christmas comes from Clement C Moore and his poem of 1822, originally called A visit from St Nicholas- now known as The Night Before Christmas -
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
(Father Christmas changed from a green coloured outfit to a red one in the 1930's when he was used in Coke Cola's advertising wearing his now famous red outfit. ) But he was based on a real person - Saint. Nicholas, or Sinter Klaas in Dutch, was a very shy man and wanted to give money to poor people without them knowing about it. It is said that one day, he climbed the roof of a house and dropped a purse of money down the chimney. It landed in the stocking which a girl had put to dry by the fire! This may explain the belief that Father Christmas comes down the chimney and places gifts in children's stockings.
Then of course we have the food and presents, but the real meaning of Christmas is Christ's Mass or CRISTES MAESSE. (This is a very old English term and certainly used in the eleventh century. )
And why is Christ’s Mass important - This is the time when we celebrate the fact the God sent His son Jesus to our world. He was born around 2000 years ago and Christmas is the celebration of His birthday. The real meaning of Christmas.
An why was Jesus so important – because 33 years after His birth He was crucified, died, then buried in a tomb, only to come back to life again -
_ There recently seems to have been a lot of discussion on the radio about the wise men and the gifts that they brought to Jesus.
One of the first questions asked is what were their names?
There is no specific Biblical reference to any names but tradition seems to say that they were called Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melchior, also it is not clear as to who carried which gift.
So the second question asked was what were the gifts given to Jesus?
It is sometimes assumed that there were three wise men as three gifts were given but nowhere does it say this. All it does say is that they were “wise men from the East” You can learn more about the wise men and the Christmas story here and read the story directly in Matthew 2
_ I always like it when driving around and seeing all the Christmas lights in peoples gardens and on their houses. We always try and put up several sets of lights around suitable parts of the house and on a tree that is handy. Maybe something for the next few days as have not had time to do this yet.
When we consider the original story of Christmas, the lights present we not of the electrical kind but those generated by angels. The details of the study can be found here and the main passages can be found in Luke
One of the amazing things we noted as a group was that the angels basic premise when talking to Mary is that Nothing is impossible with God. This is something that is a real challenge for us now, as much as it was a challenge for Zechariah.
When he was told that his wife was going to have a son, (who later became John the Baptist) even though they were past normal child bearing ages he became mute for around 10 months until the child was named. As he doubted what the angel said to him.
But when Zechariah spoke again at the naming of John he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to say these wonderful words (Luke 1 67-79)
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
he came and set his people free.
He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives,
and in the very house of David his servant,
Just as he promised long ago
through the preaching of his holy prophets:
Deliverance from our enemies
and every hateful hand;
Mercy to our fathers,
as he remembers to do what he said he'd do,
What he swore to our father Abraham—
a clean rescue from the enemy camp,
So we can worship him without a care in the world,
made holy before him as long as we live.
And you, my child, "Prophet of the Highest,"
will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways,
Present the offer of salvation to his people,
the forgiveness of their sins.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God's Sunrise will break in upon us,
Shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.
So next time you see Christmas lights glinting in the sky just remember - “Nothing is impossible with God”
_ All we need to do is open up the paper this weekend and it is full of gloom and doom predictions about the future due to the Euro and banking crisis. The amazing thing is that a week ago the papers were full of predictions as well, and I wonder how many of them got it right as to what happened during the course of the week.
Making predictions about the future is something that lots of us love to do, but sadly so often we are wrong in what we think is going to happen. In our recent Home Group study we looked at some of the Prophecies that had been made prior to Jesus' birth about his birth, life and death. The amazing thing was that these predictions had not been made a few weeks, months or years before the event but hundreds of years before. Also they were not made by just one Prophet but by several – we looked at more than 10 made over a range of 300 years, and more than 400 years before the birth of Jesus. Quite mind blowing really.
The really good thing is that Paul reminds us that we can all be prophets in his book to the Corinthians if suitably inspired by the Holy Spirit. Here such prophecies come true.
Dyslexic doodles on photography, food (growing, cooking & of course eating), faith and other fascinating things. This is a personal blog expressing my views.