Wednesday of this week the Orthodox Church began the season of Advent. Although we do not really use that term I use it here because people will know what I am talking about. This is the season of preparation and getting ones self ready for the birth of our Savior. Sometimes this season is called Christmas Lent and during this time the orthodox will fast just as one would fast during lent before Easter. There is an article here about fasting and why we fast as we do in the orthodox church. As I have said before, fasting is not the most important part of all of this. Sometimes we get so caught up in all of the mechanics of things that we forget why we are doing them. Advent is a time of preparation we need to be prepared. We are called to holiness as Christians and this time of the year is a good time to stop and look at the things we are doing and why we do them. Confession is another part of this time of year. Try and get yourselves to confession, don’t just try, do it. Get there…
Some of the other things I would suggest would be to begin a time of prayer. This does on have to be a long period. If you are not used to this start slow and build up from there. Start with 15 minutes in the morning and maybe another 15 in the evening. Here is another resource for your prayer time. Another thing would be to begin, or continue daily scripture reading. Reading the Word of God each day puts our mind in the right place for the day. I find the morning the best time of day for this to happen. Get yourself a cup of coffee and settle in a good chair and read the readings if the day. Not sure what they are? Check here. Thanks to our friends at the Greek Archdiocese, you don’t even need to have a bible, although you should have one.
Arms for the poor. This is one way that we all can participate in the life of the church. Giving to the poor is part of our Christian life and we must do this. There are many ways this can happen. Donate to the local food bank, toys for tots has begun, or donate to a local homeless shelter. Take some of the money that you will spend on toys or other things that will pass away, and donate that money to do something good for someone else.
The last bit of advice I will give is to do all these things with a cherry heart. Don’t go around telling people what you are doing, just do them.
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