Welcome to the Nativity Carnival: Keeping Advent
Each Sunday, Advent through Epiphany, a new "Mr Linky" will be posted for you to share your Nativity Season-related ideas and thoughts from your blog. (Just copy the link to your post and paste it into the Mr Linky box below.)
Also, please add a link on your post back to this page, thanks!
Oh, my have I been grouchy this week. Every day it seems I notice more and more Christmas decorations going up in grocery stores, department stores, and neighborhoods. All I can think is, "We've still got eleven days before Thanksgiving, people!" And in my book, even THAT is too early. But two weeks before Christmas? And some stores have been setting out holiday displays for nearly a month now! It is hard to take.
|Our Advent wreath from last year. Very simple. Glass taper holders on a cake stand with clear|
and purple flat marbles and greenery.
However, did you know that some Christians are just about to begin their preparations for Christmas? No? Neither did I until recently. But these Christians do it right...they actually FAST during Advent. Imagine that...while the rest of the world "parties on" (with excesses of food, decorations, and activities), these Christians quietly prepare to receive the Incarnation, the Christ Child. Who are these Christians? The Eastern Orthodox. Their Nativity Fast begins on Tuesday, November 15th. Depending on the church (Greek, Russian, Antiochian, etc) some will fast very strictly (no meat, animal products, or oil) and others allow some animal products to varying degrees. And even with these restrictions, practices vary based on personal abilities. (You Orthodox out there, please correct me if I get any of this wrong.)
Those of us in the west, particularly we Protestants, could learn a valuable lesson here. I am finding more and more the truth in the vacuum theory. Nature abhors a vacuum...and this is true in human nature as well. When we remove something (fasting before feasting, in this case), our natural tendency is to fill it with something else and of course that would be more feasting! Protestants (especially American Protestants), in their zeal to "de-Catholicize" their faith, have removed from their practices so many of the traditions of the Church that these vacuums are then filled with junk from the secular culture.
|Kalliope in the very dim light of our Advent devotions.|
God established His Church. He led the Church Fathers to build a carefully balanced annual cycle of fasting and feasting, and we, in our modern attempts to "correct" those who've gone before, now have a very out-of-balance faith. It makes you wonder how that has affected us spiritually.
Advent offers us a chance to regain some of that balance. I plan to take the time this year to prepare my heart and my home for the Christ Child. How about you?
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For those submitting links: So that others might enjoy the carnival, don't forget to add a link on your post back to this page, thanks!