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 FB, 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 do 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 (more Great Gifts – coffee, honey) & then called (they also have BOOKS, my self-imposed bookaholic limit of one ‘merry Christmas to me’ was a tough selection.) During our lovely conversation, i picked the suggested book (a very good choice, already through the first 5 chapters!) & placed the order (with a large contribution from the Fruitcake Gift co-Investor –my brother) … & it arrived on TUESDAY (like, 3 days later!)
25 December seemed an awfully long time to wait (my Mama is So Very Skinny, she needs to Keep Up Her Strength) so we decided to sample the Very Large 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… (usually 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 your Gift List.) Finding special Fair Trade options (coffee, holiday treats) that help overseas communities or crafts from local artisans near you (‘tis so much fun frequenting Art Shows, craft bazaars at your favorite church or local cause), 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.
I think Saint Nicholas would approve!
Grace, peace & purpose-driven gifts
Virginia : )
p.s. Researching this blog post (having tea & Fruitcake with my Mama this afternoon), it was Very 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