We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. ~Isaiah 64:8

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nativity Carnival: Keeping Advent -- Nov 13th

Welcome to the Nativity Carnival: Keeping Advent

Each Sunday, Advent through Epiphany, a new "Mr Linky" will be posted for you to share your Nativity Season-related ideas and thoughts from your blog.  (Just copy the link to your post and paste it into the Mr Linky box below.)

Also, please add a link on your post back to this page, thanks!


Oh, my have I been grouchy this week.  Every day it seems I notice more and more Christmas decorations going up in grocery stores, department stores, and neighborhoods.  All I can think is, "We've still got eleven days before Thanksgiving, people!"  And in my book, even THAT is too early.  But two weeks before Christmas?  And some stores have been setting out holiday displays for nearly a month now!  It is hard to take.

Our Advent wreath from last year.  Very simple.  Glass taper holders on a cake stand with clear
and purple flat marbles and greenery.

However, did you know that some Christians are just about to begin their preparations for Christmas?  No?  Neither did I until recently.  But these Christians do it right...they actually FAST during Advent.  Imagine that...while the rest of the world "parties on" (with excesses of food, decorations, and activities), these Christians quietly prepare to receive the Incarnation, the Christ Child.  Who are these Christians?  The Eastern Orthodox.  Their Nativity Fast begins on Tuesday, November 15th.  Depending on the church (Greek, Russian, Antiochian, etc) some will fast very strictly (no meat, animal products, or oil) and others allow some animal products to varying degrees.  And even with these restrictions, practices vary based on personal abilities. (You Orthodox out there, please correct me if I get any of this wrong.)

Those of us in the west, particularly we Protestants, could learn a valuable lesson here.  I am finding more and more the truth in the vacuum theory.  Nature abhors a vacuum...and this is true in human nature as well.  When we remove something (fasting before feasting, in this case), our natural tendency is to fill it with something else and of course that would be more feasting!  Protestants (especially American Protestants), in their zeal to "de-Catholicize" their faith, have removed from their practices so many of the traditions of the Church that these vacuums are then filled with junk from the secular culture.  


Kalliope in the very dim light of our Advent devotions. 

God established His Church.  He led the Church Fathers to build a carefully balanced annual cycle of fasting and feasting, and we, in our modern attempts to "correct" those who've gone before, now have a very out-of-balance faith.  It makes you wonder how that has affected us spiritually. 

Advent offers us a chance to regain some of that balance.  I plan to take the time this year to prepare my heart and my home for the Christ Child.  How about you?

If you are reading in a feed reader, please click through to the blog for the Mr. Linky posts!

For those submitting links: So that others might enjoy the carnival, don't forget to add a link on your post back to this page, thanks!

15 comments:

tracybradford said...

Our family can't imagine Christmas without Advent. Thanks for making a place to gather ideas!

Jessica Snell said...

Oh, I'm glad you're starting this now, a few weeks before our Advent starts - it gives me time to prepare for Advent - which is perfect, as Advent itself is preparation for Christmas!

DebD said...

Thank you so much for this. We're moving right after Christmas and Nativity Fast just hasn't been on my mind. My heart and mind say, "but I don't wanna!" but I know it is good for me. I need to observe the fast. Thank you for your kind encouragement.

p.s. you did a fine job of representing the EO practices.

Josée said...

Thanks for inviting me to link up :)Advent is such an important time for our family. We really try to refrain from preemptively celebrating Christmas until the day of and the twelve days following. I hope others enjoys some of the Advent links I've put together. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. Our church does not observe advent but I grew up in that tradition without the spiritual appreciation. Now that I am a born again believer, I can appreciate these observances in a more meaningful way and missing this from our church (it's a non liturgical church). I appreciate your post because it's helps me remember when we should start observing Advent. Thanks so much!

mamatigerj said...

Kerry,

I love the marbles with your Advent wreath; it looks so beautiful! I may just steal that idea.

Blessings~

DebD said...

Kerry, I've linked up my addition. Thank you SO much for your encouragement. I was feeling so uninspired. I can't wait to read about what others are doing.

Rebeca said...

Thanks for doing this. I hope you have a blessed season.

beach babies said...

'Protestants (especially American Protestants), in their zeal to "de-Catholicize" their faith, have removed from their practices so many of the traditions of the Church that these vacuums are then filled with junk from the secular culture.'

As an ex-Protestant turned Orthodox Christian, YOU SAID IT!!!

Love the Advent gig you're doing. More and more people are catching on to this whole fast thing. . .

Tiffany said...

Hi Kerry- Thanks for inviting me over. I am off to explore the other links:) Have a holy and peaceful Advent, all for God's glory!

Ann Kroeker said...

Thank you for alerting me to your series--it's so easy to lose track of Advent when I'm hosting Thanksgiving (which includes several out-of-town guests who stay for the week or more). I have so much food to make and clean up from, I sometimes forget about Advent prep.

I need to plan, for my family, my faith, my heart, my sanity.

Cheryl said...

Advent is such a wonderful season! Thank you for helping us remember it that it should be a part of our holidays in December. I'm sharing a link to a blog post I wrote about my family's favorite Advent music. For us, it isn't Advent until we start playing this music! We usually wait to play Christmas music until the week of Christmas.

Amy said...

I'm having fun exploring the links - good stuff!

My vacation ends tomorrow. Hopefully, I can participate soon!!

Homemaker Honey said...

Hi! I make Jesse Tree Ornaments for celebrating Advent.

http://www.etsy.com/listing/73055020/adventchristmas-jesse-tree-ornaments-set

I'd love for you to have a look.

Blessings,
Deborah
Homemaker Honey
homemakerhoney.com
homemakerhoney @gmail .com
etsy.com/acupofjoy

Laura O in AK said...

Kerry,

Found this after visiting The Diary of a Sower. She found one of my Advent posts, which is how I found her.

I have to say that I am so glad to hear when Protestants realize there is a point to the liturgical year we Catholics follow. As you said, we need that period of 'fast' and preparation before the feast (Christmas or Easter.) I suspect I would feel less of a 'bang' during those feast days if I hadn't spent time preparing myself for the weeks beforehand.

Feel free to check out the 40 Days of Seeking Him meme I am co-hosting:

http://daybydayinourworld.com/2011/11/40-days-of-seeking-him-advent-2011-week-one/

We'd love more bloggers participating.