See the little orange guys hanging on strings from a bamboo pole behind Mr. Koso Okada and the clothes pole in his yard? Those are persimmons drying in the fall sunlight. Mr. Okada is holding some that are called hoshi gaki (dried persimmons). Hoshi gaki are made from shibu gaki (astringent, that is having a harsh, biting quality).
When this kind of persimmon hangs on a tree and comes to full growth, it cannot be eaten because of its extremely bitter (astringent) taste. No body in their right mind would eat one! BUT, shibu gaki become a New Years delicacy here in Japan after having been peeled, hung and dried in the fall sun!
A closer look shows how these persimmons are being dried in the sun. The inedible, bitter fruit actually become sweet beyond one’s imagination after having been peeled and hung in the sun’s rays for several weeks.
How bitter and unapproachable were some of us before something in life “peeled” us naked and we called on God for His help? From that turning point, we have been “hanging” in the Light, becoming sweeter as we mature in the light and life of the Jesus Christ. “In Him was life and the life was the light of men,” says John 1:4.
I was told of another way the Japanese make these bitter persimmons into a sweet delicacy. They are called “aoshi gaki” when the process is finished. The stems are pulled out of the bitter persimmon and Japanese “sake” (rice wine) fills the hole where the stem used to be. The fruit is then placed in a clear container where it is set in the sunlight for several weeks before they become delectably sweet.
Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11
Paul advised, “ . . . be filled with the Spirit, speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:18-19
Paul asked, “Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?” Acts 19:2
Profound statements, huh?
There are also the “kuro mame” (black beans) that make another New Years delicacy in Japan. Notice how BIG, black and hard they are!
They are just like we can be when we get a little too proud ‘n puffed-up, when sin finds its way in to our life ⎯ big, black and hard. But you know what? A little sugar and time make this fall produce super delicious. The sugar actually becomes invisible as it seeps into the bean and becomes a part of its flavor. The Word of God, too, when it seeps into our heart changes us!
David said, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11
Invisible, yet powerfully able to change whatever it touches into something delectable and sweet! David said in another place, “O taste and see that the LORD is good,” but I can’t help but believe that Jesus says the same about us in His conversations with the Father and the Holy Spirit: “O taste and see that (insert your name here) is good!”
The principles of God’s Word are hidden even in the delicacies of our holiday celebrations.