Nativity Fast

Pastoral Thoughts upon the beginning of the Nativity Fast


The Fast for the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is upon us. Let us resolve to prepare our souls spiritually, so that the God-man Jesus Christ may take up his abode in the cave of our unworthy hearts, as He did not disdain to be born in a cave. Let us fast *correctly*, by abstaining from the proper foods *and* sins. Let us pray a little more, and judge a little less. Let us forgive a little more, and be angry a little less. Let us be humble a little more, remembering that our Lord humbled Himself by taking on the form of a servant, and let us be proud a little less.

The fasting rules for the Nativity Fast are as follows:

FISH is permitted on all Saturdays and Sundays throughout the fast. It is likewise permitted on 4th December, the Entry into the Temple of the Most-holy Theotokos; and on 22nd December, the feast of the Conception by St. Anna of the Most-holy Theotokos.

WINE AND OIL are permitted on all Tuesdays and Thursdays of the Fast.

On all the remaining days of the Fast, we abstain from fish, wine and oil.

On the Feast of the Nativity of Christ, there is no fast, regardless of the day of the week upon which it falls.

"Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works."

"If you see a poor man, take pity on him. If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him. Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies. Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice. Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin. Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful. Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip. Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism."

"For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers? May He who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us."

St. John Chrysostom

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St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas