Why I want to fast to prepare for Christmas.Sarah | 14.10.2015 | 06:49:01 | Views: 2085
My own personal reasons for attempting an Advent fast.
Towards the end of my Boost juice tropical ice cream I remembered that today was the start of the advent fast. For the Orthodox, that means, for 40 days, no meat, eggs or dairy, although fish is allowed on the weekends during advent. Advent is the time that we prepare for the coming of Jesus into the world. Advent means "coming."
I've fasted from other things before, "given something up for God," and it has been beneficial to break an addiction, or put something that was becoming way too important back into perspective. But none of that was as hard as I've found fasting from eating meat. I get tired and my husband gets grumpy. We haven't yet made it through 40 days. Here's why I'm trying again.
I've heard from people who have been doing this fast for years, that they almost look forward to it, because they know the spiritual blessings that they receive in persevering with the struggle to fast. Let me just point out that word 'almost.' It's still hard, but there's benefits. I want those benefits.
I eat several times a day. So several times a day I become focused on the fact that Jesus is coming. Not always in a deeply reflective sense, just a little reminder every_single_time I go to eat something (which is often.)
It's a fabulous way to put shopping and decorating, Christmas shopping and baking into perspective. I will wait for the good things to come.
It increases my desire to see Jesus come. I long for the time when we can feast and celebrate. I find the same with communion. Many Orthodox Christians fast from all food and drink on Sunday mornings before they receive the bread and wine that is Jesus body and blood. Having a rumbling tummy makes me physically aware of how much I need God's energies inside me.
Of course, it's not a law that I must fast, and I'm not going to be flogging myself to do it. There's more important things to fast from - anger, greed, lust, gossip, judging others, and more important things to focus on, like love, justice, giving to the poor, and forgiving others.
But I'm going to give it a shot, and join with Christian brothers and sisters around the globe who have been doing this for many hundreds of years. They can't all be wrong.
(Published in sections: Orthodoxy Explained :: News :: )