Five Guys and the baby Jesus

Ed. note: As of 9 a.m. 11/15/2011, the murder trial was continued. Thank God for small favors.

Tomorrow starts the Nativity Fast.

This is going to be a long 40 days and I am in absolutely no frame of mind for it. The Penn State thing is driving me to complete distraction, but only because it makes me impatient for similar accountability of a legal variety for ABWE. My workplace has become completely crazy.  And there’s a murder trial this week, so game on.

Somewhere in here, I’m supposed to prepare my heart and my soul for the birth of Christ. I’m supposed to clean out the manger of my soul, right? Sweep out the cobwebs. Dust the furniture. Etc.

The fast is supposed to help with this. I’m supposed to pay attention to the little things, the basic activities like what I eat and how much time I spend in prayer, to tune everything up for the celebration of His birth. Great Lent is so much easier. Everyone in Christian culture is doing something to get ready for Easter. But the Nativity Fast, that’s all us in Orthodoxy. Like Wednesdays and Fridays, but everyday. While all of our culture is participating in an orgy of consumerism and fine dining, I’ll be learning a new way to cook shrimp (You know you’re Orthodox when you don’t think of shrimp as something special.) or rekindling my passion for peanut butter. It’s the anti-everything-about-the Christmas-season season

I prepared a bit, I guess, this evening. After working into darkness, and being continually frustrated by what was going on around me in the newsroom, I left with low blood sugar and high blood pressure. After the grocery store (don’t shop hungry, by the way), I stopped off at home and picked up the dog. She and I went to dinner tonight, driving back across town about 15 minutes just to eat a Five Guys bacon cheeseburger and a bag of fries. (I shared with Sunshine. She likes them.)

I guess that’s a start, right? Saying goodbye to bacon and hamburger for a few weeks, maybe that will help me get the rest of my house in order. I don’t know. If this nonsense keeps up at the office, they’re going to need to take my sharps away, or my stapler, or laptop… All the bad stuff, the Penn States, the ABWEs, the drama in my own communities, these things will be ever-present as well, making my soul tired and longing for the comfort of a pepperoni pizza.

Lord, have mercy on me and help me get through this season. All I want for Christmas, though, aside from salvation, is a really good cut of beef.


Author: Rebecca

Orthodox Christian. Journalist. SAR K9 handler. All three of those are deeply related.

5 thoughts on “Five Guys and the baby Jesus”

  1. How a fast works…that’s an interesting question. In theory, it is abstinence from all meat, dairy, oil and wine and sometimes fish for a set period of time, such as Great Lent, or the Nativity season. We also observe a similar fast every Wednesday and Friday throughout the year, with the exception of a few weeks that are super special (and they are). The Wednesday/Friday observances are in remembrance of Christ’s betrayal (Wednesday) and Passion (Friday). We also abstain for all food for at least four hours prior to a Divine Liturgy if we plan to partake of the Holy Gifts (that’s where the term Breakfast comes from).

    But in practice, i.e. outside of a monastery, the fast looks how you and your priest decide it looks. If you work all day, a diet made up strictly of carrot sticks and nuts can render you nearly catatonic. The purpose of the fast is to slow you down a bit, but we recognize that we must function. For me, it is getting rid of all meat. (Fish and seafood excluded) Dairy is a bit more problematic because I find it hard to get enough protein without milk/cheese. So I try to observe a stricter fast on Wednesdays and Fridays during a fasting period, if I can, but the rest of the week, I will occasionally eat a string cheese or a yogurt in the afternoon to keep myself from flagging too much (low blood sugar for me translates into errors in the newspaper)

    But in Orthodoxy is never, ever a series of rules or regulations. It is, rather, a prescription for spiritual health. I do this, not to earn favor or punish the body, but rather to be mindful, to remember and to focus. Practicing the disciplines of the Church is the same as when I practice a jump spinning hook kick. It’s tricky, but the more you do it, the better you become. In this “better” is closer to salvation, i.e. more like Christ (which is our goal).

    You should also pick up the pace with your prayer rule and the reading of Scripture. Get to church more (most parishes offer more services during fasts).

    It’s all about pulling away from the way the world functions (or doesn’t).

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