A is for Advent and B is for Books

Marcy from Ben and Me has retired from hosting Blogging Through The Alphabet. She did five rounds. Five! So my friend Kristi  from A Potter’s Hand Academy  has taken up the baton and is now hosting a new round of Blogging Through The Alphabet. She started last week. I missed the memo. But that’s ok. I’ll just start now and I’ll start from the beginning with the Letter A. The first thing that came to mind was Advent or in the Orthodox world, Nativity Fast or little lent. Since my post for the letter B is about the books I want to read during Advent, I’m going to combine the two letters.

Icon image:  Our Lady of the Sign

For many Orthodox Christians in the USA, the Nativity Fast will start on Saturday November 15. Well, actually for all Orthodox Christians the fast will begin on November 15 but one is November 15 on the Revised Julian Calendar (New) Calendar which currently follows the civil Gregorian calendar that we are all familiar with.  The other calendar is the Julian Calendar (Old) and currently differs from the Gregorian calendar by 13 days. So when the secular wall calendar says November 28, that’s November 15 on the Old calendar.  But I digress.

The word fasting tends to conjure up images of no food or very little food. But for Orthodox Christians food is only one part. In addition to fasting from food we are to abstain from or fast from sin. Well certainly we should abstain from sin all the time but during fasting seasons we put a greater emphasis on seeking to put to death the desires of the flesh and seek a deeper, more meaningful spiritual relationship with God. We can do this by praying more. Praying and fasting go hand in hand.  For that reason many folks will withdraw from online forums or social media such as Facebook. Some will spend less time watching television.

Advent ~ The Nativity Fast isn't just about food. It's also about praying more.

I read this quote on Life of the World’s Facebook page this morning:

Not only should we observe moderation with food, but we must also abstain from every other sin so that just as we fast with our stomach, we should fast with our tongue. Likewise, we should fast with our eyes; i.e. not look at agitating things, not allow your eyes freedom to roam, not to look shamelessly and without fear. Similarly, arms and legs should be restrained from doing any evil acts. ~ Abba Dorotheus of Gaza

When I read that I immediately thought of the TV show Criminal Minds which Honeybear and I have been watching on Netflix streaming. We both think that giving up Criminal Minds during the Nativity Fast is in our best interest. I plan to abstain from most of our regular streaming. It has been our habit to watch more documentaries and educational type programing during fasting seasons, rather than the sitcoms and dramas that we usually watch.

So what will I do instead? Read books. I debated making this a separate post but the reason I want to talk about books is because I’m going to read them during the Nativity Fast. I don’t know if I will finish them. Ok my goal is to finish Mere Christianity because I am thisclose to finishing it and I think if I set aside the time to read, I will actually finish the book. So here is my Book List for my Nativity Fast reading:

  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis ~  I started this ages and ages ago. It’s time to finish it.
  • Christ the Eternal Tao by Hieromonk Damascene ~ I borrowed this from a friend but I haven’t started it yet.
  • The Man Who Was Thursday by GK Chesterton ~ The same friend who loaned me the above book is hosting an Advent Read Along. I have my copy on my Kindle ready to go and I am looking forward to reading it.
  • Time and Chance by Sharon Kay Penman ~ this is book two in her series about Eleanor of Aquitaine
  • Evergreen by Susan May Warren. This one is a Christmas Winter Novella so I might wait until after Christmas and read it during the 12 Days and I first have to finish book 3 in the series When I Fall in Love which I am currently reading.

Considering how long Time and Chance and Christ the Eternal Tao are, my list may be overly ambitious for 40 days if I were trying to finish all of them.

By watching less Netflix, I can increase time reading!

In addition to reading the above books, I do also intend to make my daily Bible readings a priority and use the 40 days to make Bible reading a daily habit like making my bed or combing my hair.

I’m looking forward to Advent and reading more Books.


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