The Holy Days are upon us… NOW

Nativity Icon Greeting Card for Sale by Munir Alawi
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This year has just FLOWN by! Combine that with some personal crises I am dealing with since about August-ish and I plumb forgot until now that hey… it is NOVEMBER!!! Why does this matter?

Well the Advent and Nativity Fasting seasons are upon us. I thought I would connect you to a few resources should you be interested in connecting in some way this Holy season.

NATIVITY FAST This begins Monday, November 15th for those of us on the new calendar.

ADVENT SERIES for young adults

BOOKS for personal or group studies:

When the winter begins to make way into the Northern World, the Church of Christ begins to celebrate ‘a splendid three-day Pascha.’ Thus Father Thomas Hopko begins the first of forty meditations for the season of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, ending with the feast of the Meeting of the Lord in the Temple on the fortieth day after Christ’s birth. In the style of his popular book for the paschal fasting season, The Lenten Spring, the author again draws on the biblical readings and liturgical hymns and verses of the season to illumine the way for believers to follow the Church’s days of preparation and celebration for the Coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in human flesh. Many references are made to the writings of the saints and Church Fathers, as well as to contemporary Christian teachers and spiritual guides. All those who love the Lord’s Coming will find comfort and strength, as well as enlightenment and instruction, for having passed through the Winter Pascha with this book as their companion.
HEAR THE CHRISTMAS STORY AS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE MAKE THE JOURNEY TO THE MANGER ALONG WITH MARY AND JOSEPH, THE SHEPHERDS AND THE MAGI Has the Christmas season become the most stressful time of the year instead of the most wonderful time? Do you struggle to keep Christ in Christmas?The story of the Nativity is told in a mere 40 verses of scripture-19 in the Gospel of Matthew, 20 in the Gospel of Luke and 1 in the Gospel of John. Yet nearly each word of every verse is packed with meaning. We are all familiar with holiday words like “joy” and “glory.” Have you ever wondered about their deeper meaning? The glory of the Lord (Luke 2:9) is not just part of the Christmas story but something we can experience in our own lives. Joy reminds us of the child-like innocence we used to have and can recapture.In Luke 2:20 we read “And the shepherds returned.” The shepherds were still shepherds; witnessing the miracle of the Incarnation of Christ didn’t change their status. It changed their hearts. Let All Creation Rejoice: Reflections for Advent, the Nativity and Epiphany is a series of short daily reflections on the scripture readings of the season, to be read during the Orthodox Christian Advent and Nativity season between November 15 and January 7.Spending a few minutes each day reading and reflecting on these scriptures will not change your status either. It will change your heart. You will better understand the “good news of a great joy,” and why “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” AND AS YOU PREPARE TO AGAIN CELEBRATE GOD’S GREATEST GIFT TO US, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO OFFER WITH A MORE GRATEFUL HEART YOUR GIFTS TO HIM. Father Stavros N. Akrotirianakis is a Greek Orthodox Priest who serves St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church in Tampa, Florida.
The author of the popular Meditations for Great Lent takes us through the hymnography, scripture readings, and iconography for the forty days leading up to the Nativity of Christ, showing how a full understanding of the Incarnation can enrich our spiritual lives.