Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Nativity Fast

We have now gone through almost two weeks of the Nativity Lent, my dear friends. This fast, beginning on November 28th(Nov 15,New Calendar), lasts for six weeks - almost as long as the Great Lent. 
However, the Nativity Lent has a different and entirely unique character. Lent in our minds is usually associated with penitence, sorrow, weeping over one’s sins, cleansing the soul in preparation for the forthcoming great event or sacrament. In Christmas Lent, all concepts concerning lent - except for the last one, that is, purification of the soul, - are eclipsed by two dominant characteristics. These are - humbleness and internal joy.

Why does the Church urge us to use this lenten period to bring our souls into a state of complete humility? Because the coming holiday, although so joyous and so great, is completely enveloped in the spirit of humility. The Apostle Paul explains to us that in this holiday “God on high descended upon earth, in order to elevate us into heaven.” But in order to achieve this, the Lord “diminished Himself, taking on the image of a servant, and was likened to man.” We are all servants of God, that is, we have all been created, and in order to become like man, the Lord had to diminish, lessen, exhaust, in other words - humble His Divinity. And all of this the Lord did for us, in order to save us from death and the power of the devil, so that man - the crown of God’s creation - would not perish. In like manner we, too, should honor and thank our Creator and Saviour. We should diminish our pride, lessen our self-extolment, exhaust our selfishness, and only then - through total humility - will we find that ascending road into heaven, into the Heavenly Realm, which the Lord has opened for us in His descent to earth.

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