(A 5-gallon bucket of pears fresh off the tree)
(Simmering on the stove and being put into quart canning jars)
(The finished product ! Yummy!)
I've been canning pears this week. Have been wanting to blog but seems like time has been short. It made me start thinking about an article titled "Preserved" that I wrote for publication in a Christian newspaper in October of 2003. I can't think of any better way to say what I've been thinking about than to just reprint it here. For those of you who have known me a long time this may be the second...or even third....time that you have read it. If so, I apologize. Here it is:
The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (Psalm 121: 8 KJV)
The promise of crisp, cool days and clear, frosty nights hangs in the air. Autumn is officially here. The season of harvest. Lately every time I drive to town I see tractors on the roads and in the fields. Farmers are baling their hay and gathering their crops. I’m reminded of the verse in Genesis 8: 22 that says, “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”(KJV)
Just today my husband remarked that he wished he knew someone who would like to have the rest of the pears hanging on the tree in our front yard. I have already canned jars and jars of pear preserves, pear relish and pear halves this year so I don’t really need anymore myself. Yet, I am sure I will can a few more just so they’re not wasted.
Since early spring I have watched the pears on that tree. At first I marveled at the lacey white blooms all over the branches. Then spring winds came and scattered them like so many snowflakes all over the ground. After that came little buds of baby pears on the tree. The thick clusters reminded me of grapes. As they grew they became heavier and heavier and began to make the branches droop. We picked some of them before they were very ripe to prevent the branches from breaking under their weight.
As the pears began to ripen, I started preserving them so we could enjoy them this winter. I made pear preserves. A favorite that I often share with friends or family over a hot buttered biscuit. I made pear relish. An unusual combination of pears, hot peppers, bell peppers, onions, sugar and spices that is wonderful over a helping of black-eyed peas or pinto beans. I made pear halves. We love to just open a jar of these and eat with a meal or make a “pear salad” with cottage cheese. But after a while, the sore fingers, stiff neck and back that I get when fixing pears made me not look on these sweet beauties in quite the same light as I did when they first came on the tree. Yet when winter comes and I open a jar of pears, I am so glad that I took the time to preserve them for my family.
There have been times though when I have gone into the pantry to retrieve a jar of preserves and the seal would be broken and the preserves not preserved anymore! What a disappointment. When this happens the culprit is usually a small, almost unnoticeable chip out of the very top of the glass canning jar which causes the seal not to hold. I try to always check carefully for this but sometimes one will slip by me.
Our lives are sometimes sort of like these pears: we “bloom” as infants, “grow” as youngsters, and “ripen” into mature adults. Our Saviour does the “preserving” of us….some of us are one flavor….others another. I am so glad that once I have been “preserved” by the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, that I can never “lose my seal”. (Proverbs 2: 8 KJV “He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.”) He has done the work for my salvation and He is the one who keeps me saved. I am thankful that I can say as did the Patriarch Jacob that I have seen the Lord “face to face” (in the spiritual sense) and have been “preserved”. (“And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Genesis 32: 30 KJV)
I almost forgot to mention one thing about the pears in my front yard…some of them have fallen on the ground and rotted. Some people are the same way….they have turned away from the drawing of the Holy Spirit and have gone out into the “rotten” ways of sin. I pray that if the Spirit should be calling to you as you read this, you will turn to Christ and let Him make of you a sweet “preserved” soul to be used for His honor and glory.
Well, back to my canning. I have another five-gallon bucket of pears waiting on me in the kitchen!
May God bless and "preserve" you all is my prayer!