A peaceful preparation

Make ready, O Bethlehem: let the manger be prepared, let the cave show its welcome. The truth has come, the shadow has passed away…


Orthodoxy is unique in her provision of a season of preparation for the Feast of Nativity. I am pondering this while eating my lunch of a simple hummus wrap and gearing up for a full weekly schedule of services. There have been plenty of years where I’ve really wrestled with having to fast in the midst of these frenzied weeks of holiday shopping and festivities. This year, however, has not been one of them.


Maybe I'm just an especially slow learner, but sometimes it feels like after two and half decades of being Orthodox, I’m only really just beginning my faith journey. With every twist and turn of my life’s trajectory, a new vast and uncharted spiritual landscape is revealed to me. This particular fast, for instance, has felt more liberating and wholly beneficial than any previous Nativity Fast I have experienced. I’m traveling through it with a new sense of wonder. 


With each small act of self-emptying, through resisting my impulses to: eat mindlessly, dialogue with my anxious thoughts, hurry, consume distracting content, speak idly, etc, the deeper my mind descends into my heart. Insulated from the noise of the world around me, I enter into eternal time wherein the Kingdom of Heaven warms and illumines my daily joys, trials and interactions with salvific significance. Rather than a sense of obligation, a longing for more and more and ever more of this light and hope fuels my prayers and preparation for the glorious Feast to come! 


Although it does require great sacrifice and effort, by intentionally making ready for Christ to be born in our homes and hearts, we experience a sustaining depth of joy that satiates our souls like nothing else on earth!

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