A week or so ago, I was chatting with a friend who expressed that she missed Lent. I knew what she meant. She was saying that she longed for a 'good reason' to give something up. A strong motivation to exercise a deeper level of displine. I knew what she meant because I have been feeling the same way.
The Advent season officially began yesterday, and I've been reading SO much about it. Mostly because I'm always looking for ideas that will add to and enhance the worship experience at our church, but partly because I long for this year to be different.
I long for more meaning - or I should say, more recognition of The Meaning - this Christmas.
In my travels on the world wide web, most of what I come across is the type of thing I would expect, or have seen before. But today I learned something new! Have you ever heard of Nativity Fast? It was mentioned in passing in an artcile I read and it so intrigued me that I looked further for more info.
If you read down in the wikipedia definitions, you'll see the rules of it our quite strict! But here's a quote regarding the Nativity Fast that caused me to stop:
For most of us, we are anxious to get to the feast — we want the days to rush by. Our preparation usually consists of shopping and decorating, not to speak of the endless parties that we are invited to attend. Here is where the notion of waiting comes into play. We must discipline ourselves through self control and patience. We are to read the Scriptures, specifically the prophecies that speak of the coming of the Messiah. We are to turn our focus to a Godly way of life that calls for sacrificing and almsgiving (acts of mercy). Antiochian.org/1294
What can I do for the next 25 days that will enable me to be ready - in my heart and soul? How can I practice this notion of waiting, of discipline?
What will the Lord call me to give up in order to have the time, which seems to be in such shortage?
"Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you...
You will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy...
The sun will no more be your light by day,
nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you,
for the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory!"
Isaiah 60:1, 5a, & 19