I know I’m not alone when I say that Advent is the most inconvenient time to fast. Thanksgiving. Then all those Christmas goodies. Not to mention those challenging coffee hours where no one really knows what’s fasting and what is not (I don’t read labels btw). My young adult children find it very difficult to “Be Orthodox” this time of year. Why? Why is this so hard to do?
What is counter-cultural about Advent?
1. Fasting in college. Dining halls. Parties. Not conducive to the Advent season. Actually, trying to fast is a quick way to be labeled “different”.
2. Church, church, and more church. This is the hardest. PKs understand. Why so much? Why? Because church is where home is.
3. Commercialism. Christmas is NOT about Toys R Us. It is not about new cars and Coke commercials. Minion yard decorations? What DOES that have to do with Christmas? Anything?
We have to wade through it all to see what Christmas REALLY is.
This year, I asked my folks in church to read ON THE INCARNATION by St. Athanasius. Why? Because it’s life changing. The idea is that the more we can know and comprehend about the Incarnation, then somehow this helps bring Christmas back to life. So read it if you haven’t, and if you have, then read it again, but this time, slow down. Drink your coffee, and take a moment to meditate on the depth of it all.
Dump the Minions, Snoopy, and yard snow globes. Discover the real meaning of Christmas and pass it on to the zillions who can’t see past the hype. Hang an icon of the Annunciation or the Adoration of the Magi in your front yard, and be Orthodox on purpose.
Happy New Year!