Monday, December 01, 2008
The Pre-Christmas Fast as an Anti-Depressant
Lisa C. DeLuca writes a very insightful article detailing the benefits of following the Orthodox Church's practice of the pre-Christmas fast. From November 14, through Christmas, Orthodox Christians abstain from meat, cheese, oil and wine to prepare their souls for Christ's coming on Christmas. DeLuca says this practice "helps people grieve their losses, endure their sadness, feed their souls, and, ultimately, experience joy on Christmas day."
Instead of filling their bodies with unnecessarily rich food, and trying to fill their souls with unsatisfying and artificial "Christmas cheer" before the day has even arrived, the Orthodox use Advent as a period of focusing on their own relationship with God and with others. By entering into a period of more intense prayer, and self-giving, Christmas, when it comes, is joy-filled in a way that transcends the temporal, worldly "must-haves" and "must-dos" that characterize it in today's society.
Remember, the manger was filled with food for animals. It wasn't until Jesus was there that it contained Real Food for our souls.