This shall be a sign unto you. You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a feeding trough. ~Luke 2:12The sign of Christ's coming was our Savior lying in a feeding trough. He is our food. We are to hunger and thirst after righteousness, Jesus tells us in the Beatitudes. We are to hunger and thirst after HIM.
In the East, the feast of Christmas is preceded by the Nativity Fast. Abstinence from meat, dairy and eggs occurs from November 15th (in some churches December 10) until December 24th. Fish is allowed. From the 13th until the 24th, fish, olive oil and wine are added to the list of foods that are fasted from.
The idea in the East is not to worry overmuch about incurring a penalty of sin, but to encourage us to use Christ's three-fold method of prayer, fasting and almsgiving to help us draw closer to the Lord and to anticipate and be able to fully rejoice in His coming.
The time of conspicuous consumption which arrives for believers and non-believers alike, and all but replaces the Holy Season now begins at the same time we are being asked to remember the Holy Souls in early November. When the Church is calling us to more fervent prayer and a awareness of our own mortality, the world temps us from all sides to mortgage both our finances and our souls in a futile attempt to drown out the poverty in our own innermost selves.
Fasting from spending, fasting from overindulgence in food, and fasting from meaningless pursuits as a way to focus our hearts on the eternal is more important now than ever in the 2000 year history of Christianity. Our Lord in his infinite wisdom, has given us ample spiritual food for these challenging times.
The sign is our Savior waiting for us in a feeding trough.
Therefore, let us keep the feast.
~1 Corrinthians 5:8