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2013-11-10 message

posted Dec 8, 2013, 5:58 PM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Dec 8, 2013, 6:03 PM ]

Our preparation for Christmas begins in just a few days. One of the reasons I like the season of Advent is that, on a certain level, the connection between fasting and joy is quite readily apparent. As with most preparations for great occasions in the yearly cycle of the church year, we prepare for the birth of the Lord with fasting. At Pascha, the fasting is accompanied by many penitential hymns and the spirit of repentance permeates everything. There is joy in repentance and there is joy in Great Lent, but it takes a certain perceptiveness and attentiveness in order to become attuned to that.

In Advent, the joy is obvious. On November 21, the feast of the entry of the Theotokos into the temple, we begin singing “Christ is born.” The Christmas carols, the Christmas trees, beautiful lights and decorations, all these bring vividly to mind the joy of the season. Last year, we celebrated the first snow of the season by watching White Christmas. Each year (when I remember), I bring a CD of Christmas carols to church on November 21 and look forward to hearing the familiar songs at the end of the Liturgy.

This is a time of preparation and indeed it is a time of fasting, but it is a time of excitement and a time of joy. It is an opportunity for us to make a connection in our hearts and minds between fasting and joy, so let us fast, each according to our ability, while gladly singing about the coming in the flesh of our Lord and Savior.

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter