On the Nativity Fast
… I know well how difficult fasting can be for Christians living amidst the world. They often meet with incomprehension from friends and colleagues – and not only incomprehension, but rejection and even ridicule. This sometimes causes the cowardly desire to abandon the fast, so as not to appear strange in people’s eyes or to stand out from their surroundings. But it should be firmly understood that the steadfast observance of church rules by Christians, although it might seem unusual to non-churchgoers, will command their involuntary respect. Our fasting itself can become a wordless sermon for many, reminding them of our faith and of that great and majestic event for which we are preparing by means of this fast.
I sincerely wish you to complete the course of this fast with spiritual profit, peering attentively into your souls and hearts during these days in order to cleanse them of everything that could hinder God – Who became Man for our sake and our salvation by descending from heaven to earth – from entering and making His abode in them. We will render to the Lord only the small labor of abstinence that is within our powers, and He will grant us His great and incomparable spiritual joy – the joy of the living knowledge that God has appeared unto us in order to be with us always, never leaving those who have put their trust in Him, through the joy of Christ’s radiant Nativity.
- An excerpt from “an Epistle for the Beginning of the Nativity Fast” by Met. Longin