In many countries December 6th is a special day where children receive gifts from Saint Nicholas, a Bishop from the 4th Century who is well remembered in Eastern & Western churches. Not many exact details are known about his life, but the Eastern church recognizes this saint as a “preacher of the Word of God & spokesman of the Father,” while the Western church has passed down stories of his timely provision of dowries for the poor girls in his city (who otherwise would have been forced into prostitution) & reputation for helping the poor & oppressed.
… Checking Facebook, a beer-brewing buddy posted today that Saint Nicholas is also the Patron Saint of Brewers. (Who knew? No wonder this saint is so popular in Europe!)
So, how does Saint Nicholas relate to Fruitcake? This may be a stretch (albeit a tasty one!) Think about giving gifts. Consider how Saint Nicholas has morphed into ‘Santa Claus’ bringing toys in his sleigh for girls & boys (good ones, anyway.) Remember Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in America) when zillions of folks dashed madly about packed shopping malls pursuing gift deals to put under their Christmas Trees “from Santa?”
So what did Virginia do? (& yes, I do so totally get it, regarding the famous Newspaper Headline emblazoned eons ago, “Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus!”)
On Black Friday this Virginia (the person, not the State) ordered Fruitcake. Actually, it was Saturday, but that was my ‘intentional shopping’ (& only shopping) Thanksgiving weekend. (To make sure it arrived before Christmas. Fruitcakes take time to ‘set up.’)
You see, my Mama LOVES fruitcake. If you wait too long, they are hard to find (good ones especially.) But the week before Thanksgiving whilst whisking mail catalogues cluttering up the kitchen table into the dustbin, one Fruitcake cover stood out: “Holy Spirit Monastery Gifts.” That sounded even better (given past fudge gift orders from Trappist Monasteries & cases of wine regularly procured from Latrun Monastery on the way back & forth from Gaza.)
I looked online to find more great gifts like coffee, honey & books(!) During a lovely called-to-order conversation, I picked the suggested book (already through the first 5 chapters!) & placed our order (with a large contribution from the Fruitcake co-investor –my brother) & it arrived on TUESDAY (3 days later!)
25th December seemed an awfully long time to wait (my Mama needs to keep up her strength) so we decided to sample The Fruitcake (I don’t particularly like fruitcake, but this is Really Good!) Smiles all around (especially on Mama!)
Purchases with a Purpose. The Trappist monks pray all day & pay their way by making goods for sale (very good ones.) Purchasing gifts from these monasteries supports them & their ministry of prayer. (Click this to learn more: www.trappist.net)
Gifts with a Purpose. Advent is the season of ‘coming’ as we wait the birth of Jesus on Christmas, but it’s also when we scramble to find gifts for our loved ones, neighbors, friends, colleagues (whoever makes our gift lists.) Finding special Fair Trade options (coffee, holiday treats) that help overseas communities or crafts from local artisans near us (‘tis so much fun frequenting Art Shows, craft bazaars at our favorite churches or local causes), or sharing gifts that educate (issue-oriented books & especially movie DVDs tend to make my gift bags for others!) or lift spirits (music, music, music!)
This holiday season, take a moment to think about how you can make Purchases with a Purpose & give purpose-driven gifts.
Methinks Saint Nicholas would approve!
Grace, peace & purpose-driven gifts
Virginia : )
p.s. Researching this blog post (having tea & Fruitcake with Mama this afternoon), it was interesting to note the large tin of fruitcake is almost ALL GONE (in one week.) Purpose Driven Purchases – what more can I say? Delicious! (& the honey is INCREDIBLE!) Delectable!
check them out — www.holyspiritmonasterygifts.com
Oh, my goodness, the Holy Spirit Monastery is my home turf!! If you are ever in Georgia, do go there. There is such a feeling of peaceful purpose there. It is also really nice to hear fruitcake celebrated:)
The December issue of St. Anthony Messenger did a spread on Christmas at the Monastery (probably how their catalogue turned up : ) Looks like a wonderful place to visit – will definitely check it out! oooh, the fruitcake is almost finished. 🙂
I like your shopping with a purpose, Virginia, and the fruitcake looks divine (no pun intended). I’m sure the pecans are fresh since they’re from Georgia. We used to buy bread and wine from the monks at Assumption Abbey in Richardton, North Dakota. Good stuff, good folks, and great cause–makes a purchase purposeful indeed. Thanks again for another excellent post.
Very fresh pecans (!!) … & it really was divine cake (big smile : ) I always loved the wine from the Trappist monks at Latrun Monastery in the Holy Land. They also facilitated retreats & still are a presence of prayer for peace in that region of conflict.
North Dakota – that must have been Very Interesting! Lots of Advent grace to you – & peace & joy, too — Virginia : )
Gin, wish I could be there to share a piece at teatime but I doubt even crumbs will remain by our arrival at Xmas! Really enjoyed the history lesson on St. Nic…so much I never knew!
ooops, just a few crumbs left today… : )
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