Buttoning up...

The air is cold now and the sky is gray and full of snow. I heard we might get an inch or two today, earlier then the past few years but right on time for Minnesota in November.

Yesterday was all about the last things to do on the list. Clean up the leaves one last time so they're not found wet and cold next spring. Mow the lawn level. Take out the remains of the climbing plants. And yes, set up the lights for Advent even though its still a week away. The rumors are its going to be a cold and snowy one this year, the kind of winter we had when we were kids, so now is the time to get things done.

On November 15 the TV goes dark and the fast begins. I've got things to do and books to read for all that down time. I think I'll start weaning myself off the box tonight. There's plenty of vegetable soup for meals and I had one last hamburger on the way down to LaCrosse this past Saturday. Now that the house is in order it seems like its time to get myself in order for the weeks to come, weeks I need right now to get everything back to where it needs to be.

One of the great gifts of Orthodoxy are the fasting times. Its so normal for my life to get all out of whack and the fasts call me back to sanity, winding up all the loose ends and untying the knots. And I need this one in particular, this post election, post church vandalism, post busy stuff at work, post everything nativity fast. Now that I'm buttoned up on the outside I need to be buttoned up on the inside.

Looking out of my window I see the snow has begun to fall. And so it begins.


Starlyth said...

Fr. John:

Pardon my asking, but having only some familiarity with Orthodox rites and rituals, how is the tradition of "fasting" lived out? By turning off the TV (never a bad thing), does that become part of the fasting?


Fr John said...

There are specific rules for various fasts but the overarching goal is for Orthodox Christians to draw closer to God and serve others the discipline of fasting with prayer and the giving of alms.

Fr John said...

The idea behind leaving TV behind is to stop feeding your mind and soul with its junk food and use that spare time to do good works, pray, and find better things to fill your thoughts.

Starlyth said...

I did figure out the TV part ;-). I think that it is good for all seasons. I understand the goal. I guess that leaves me with two questions, where do I find the rules (I like to read such), and how does one work Thanksgiving with family into that?

Although, I suppose by serving others on Thanksgiving, one in giving thanks in another way.

Fr John said...

On Thanksgiving there is usually an "economia" a kind of permission given to eat as you wish for that day only. No leftovers!! : (

The fasting guidelines in use in the Antiochian Archdiocese can be found at http://www.antiochian.org/node/18518