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Advent Soap Making

Jennifer Nip

Monday, December 4, 2023

Jennifer's handmade soap.
This year, I’m making homemade soaps for my daughters as they have very sensitive skin, which tends to worsen during the fall and winter seasons when the indoor heating is on. Over the years, we’ve tried various remedies to help to alleviate their condition, but success has been hit and miss. These soaps are formulated to be gentle on the skin, avoiding triggers for irritation.
In the Old Testament, there is a reference to soap making. Numbers 19:17 recounts how the Israelites crafted soap using ash from a tabernacle sacrifice and water or vegetable oil, emphasizing the importance of cleanliness and hygiene in their ritual practices. This practice serves as a reminder that just as soap and water are crucial for physical cleanliness, so too are they vital for the cleanliness of our souls - reconciliation with God.
Intrigued by this historical account, I started some research on soap making, and found some beginner’s recipes with minimal ingredients. I settled on a recipe requiring only olive oil, coconut oil, crystal lye, and water. The process seemed straightforward: weigh the ingredients per the recipe, mix the crystal lye with water, combine the lye solution with the oil, blend until reaching the desired emulsion, which in soap-making is called a “trace.” Then pour the soap paste into moulds, allowing it to cure for four to six weeks.
I gave a lot of thought before making the soap and began with the tools I had at home. Despite it involving only a few ingredients and a few steps, it took me hours to mix the ingredients to reach trace, a process that was supposed to take only a couple of minutes according to my recipe. Only afterward did I realize that having the right tools is crucial for a significant difference in outcomes.
I learned that soap making requires some essential quality tools, a sturdy pot, precise measuring weight, and a reliable blender. The process also reminds me that our souls require thoughtful selection of “tools” tailored to our spiritual needs and development. 
As I wait for the soap to be ready for Christmas, may we find in this Advent time of anticipation the right tools to prepare our souls for the coming of our Saviour Jesus Christ the Lord.
Wishing you a blessed and cleansed Advent season.

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