How will we prepare for the coming of the Lord on the feast of His Incarnation, the Nativity (Christmas) this year on December 25th? Certainly, Covid 19 has posed great challenges  to us: relating to others in a normal manner, the faithful worship of God at the weekly Divine Liturgy, not giving into nihilism, economic concerns, and not least our health of body, mind and soul. The Church does not give us answers but she does give us a method by which to live in Communion with God –Father, Son and Holy Spirit– and in communion with one another. The time of preparation in the Melkite Church reminds us that there is a real substance to reality, that the Lord of Life comes to us as Light in the darkness.

The 20th century Protestant theologian and witness for Christian faith, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, said this of our preparation for Christmas:

“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul, who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, who look forward to something greater to come. For these, it is enough to wait in humble fear until the Holy One himself comes down to us, God in the child in the manger. God comes. The Lord Jesus comes. Christmas comes. Christians rejoice!”

Let us take the time to prepare for the coming of the Lord.

This calendar helps us to prepare for the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus. While it is prepared by the laity in the Ruthenian Church which observes the longer fast, we can take their guidance with gratitude. The current practice given to us by our bishops, the Melkite Church’s actual fasting formally begins on December 10.

Educating the heart and mind is a work we all need to take seriously, even when we might not “feel like it” or feel overwhelmed (perhaps even under-whelmed). the Lord calls us to be faithful to Him; our relationship with Him personally and in the companionship of the Church is key to knowing, loving and serving Him.

Here are two reliable resources for you to consider this year:

  1. Here’s a previous post on the Nativity Fast 2020.
  2. You may want to consult this terrific resource, The Nativity Fast in the Home, for ideas to observe a fruitful preparation for the Nativity of the Lord.
  3. The Eparchy of Newton has several thoughts on the importance and nature of the Fast.