The December issue of the International Bulletin of Vincentian Marian Youth is now available.
Sample the issue with this delightful introductory essay … “In my stocking ” It is in effect a theological reflection on childhood memories and customs.
It is almost impossible to speak about the Nativity without speaking about my childhood. I was born into a family that provided me with the opportunity to live the Christian traditions of Christmas as well as other traditions that were less Christian. Among those various traditions and customs I am going to try to find the true meaning of the Nativity.
I remember with joy that after Midnight Mass we would sit in front of the fireplace and drink hot chololate. We would remain there until all the firewood had become ashes and then we would hang out stocking over the fireplace. As soon as Christmas Day dawned I would run toward the fireplace to see what “Father Noel” had placed in my stocking … there I found different gifts.
Despite being an action that is almost forgotten, I find in all of this many meanings that help to live the Nativity in a better way.
We rejoiced: today the fireplace is replaced with heaters and sharing the little things like a glass of warm mils with the family is replaced for many with a television program, some video games and/or an organizer.
The fire that became ashes: before any great event there is always a time of waiting, a time that transforms and renews us. We do not always know how to enjoy such moment and I personally am very impatient when it comes to waiting…
Placed the stockings in front of the fireplace: Today children write letters to “Father Noel” and adults are considering what gifts have to be ordered and purchased and so there are few surprises. To leave a stocking in front of the fireplace means that we allow ourselves to be surprised by the child-Jesus-God. It means that we allow ourselves to stand in awe at His coming.
To run to the fireplace to see: It is interesting to watch how we move about today during these weeks before Christmas as we search for the best gift. We go from store to store looking for something special and we forget that the most important that is not found in front of the fireplace but is found in our heart.
There I found the gifts: The gifts that we receive are not always the gifts that we had dreamed about. When this happened to me there was always someone who was able to explain to me that what I had received was the best gift in the world. These gifts were not bought hurriedly, without any thought … often people worked very hard in order to be able to buy such a gift and at other times the gift was made by hand … these gifts were always most precious,. Thus I learned that the most important thing was not the gift itself but the joy in receiving, the dedication in making a gift and the love with which one gives a gift.
May this Christmas find us willing to receive Jesus! Put your stocking in front of the fireplace because Jesus will be born anew is this is what you desire!
International Volunteer, VMY
See also their website