Today we begin our “Winter Lent”, the Nativity Fast of the Orthodox Church. For the next forty days we will begin to prepare ourselves again for the coming of Christ into the world. There is something unique about today, however, that maybe you missed, and that is, that there is nothing particularly unique or remarkable about today. Nothing happens. We have not liturgically set apart the day as a beginning of something. It simply arrives, quietly and without fanfare. There are no “Forgiveness Vespers” or themes for each Sunday leading up to the fast as there are in Great Lent. We simply begin the fast.
In much the same way, Christ simply and quietly was born into the world. It was a “mystery hidden from all eternity, unknown even by angels.” God came and was with us. He hid himself from our expectations. He chose the foolish ways, the obscurity, the humble places to reveal himself. And so today, without any great to-do, we simply and quietly begin awakening our hearts and our minds once again through the practices of prayer, fasting, charity, and the reading of Scripture.
May our Lord bless you this season and count you worthy to arrive at the cave and proclaim with all the Church, “Christ is born!”
“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” Colossians 3:2-3