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Christmas Lent

By Fr. Charles Mezomo


CHRISTMAS LENT –On November 15th, the Byzantine Churches start the ‘Christmas Fast.’ It is also called the ‘fast of St. Philip’ because it is immediately preceded by the feast of this apostle ( November 14th ). This time of expectation and of preparation corresponds to the Roman Advent. There is no disadvantage, therefore, in calling the Christmas fast ‘Advent-tide.’ Like Great Lent, which precedes Easter, this lasts forty days, but it does not involve the same liturgical restrictions and the same strictness in fasting as does Lent. The central idea of Advent is that it is the ‘coming’ of the Lord Jesus. One might perhaps feel that this term ‘coming’ is purely symbolic, for in fact Christ comes to us at all times, and even lives in us. Nevertheless, this approach and this presence of Christ, both of which are eternal, take on a special character at Advent-tide; they somehow acquire an ‘intensity.’ A special grace of the ‘coming’ of the Lord is offered us…. Christian prayer during the time of Advent might be summed up in one word: ‘Come.’ It is the ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ with which the Book of Revelation ends. If we utter this call for help with sincerity and fervour, it becomes a true ascesis, and the hope and anticipation of the Lord in fact fill an increasing place in our soul. Each day of Advent, this ‘Come!’ fills us more and is said with greater power, so that it drives away those thoughts, images and passions which are incompatible with the coming of Christ. This ‘Come!’ purifies and enflames us. It should give our prayer a special meaning.

Please try to observe this Fast at very least by abstaining on the first day (Nov. 15th), every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24th. It is also a good time for scripture reading, Confession and Communion.

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