David Russell Mosley
26 November 2013
On the Edge of Elfland
Dear Friends and Family,
For those of us in the West, the season of Advent is nearly upon us. In just a few days time our Christian year begins again. I’ve always found it interesting that our New Year begins with waiting. We begin by putting ourselves in the shoes of the Israelites after the exile, awaiting this promised branch of Jesse. We put ourselves in Mary’s shoes, awaiting the nativity of the Son of Man and Son of God. But we also remind ourselves of our own situation; our own waiting for the Lord’s return. We begin each year waiting. Waiting for Christmas, certainly, as we recapitulate the waiting that has gone on before us waiting for the birth of Christ; but also waiting for his coming again.
There are two seasons of waiting, in a sense, in the Christian Year. The first is Advent, but the second is Lent, that waiting for the resurrection. When we celebrate Lent, however, we fast, reminding ourselves that the light has gone out of the world and that we depend on that light for our sustenance. It was traditional, however, to also fast in Advent. In fact, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Advent for forty days prior to Christmas for that very reason. In the West, however, as well, it was traditional to fast during the four weeks and a bit, usually, that precedes the celebration of the Nativity.
With that in mind, I want to encourage you to fast this Advent. Traditionally, one would have fasted from meats, sweets, etc. during Advent, but as often happens with Lent, this may be a time to fast from other things as well (the internet, social media, Christmas music, Christmas movies, etc.). This Advent I’ll be giving up watching TV on my own. I often fill the silent moments in my life with TV shows and phone games, so I’m going to use Advent as an opportunity to remove some of the distractions in my life and remind myself that God often speaks in the silences.
Have you ever fasted during Advent? If so, from what? How did you find it? Let me know.
David Russell Mosley