^^^ Amen a second time.
THose who are overly asetical in their fasting do not impress me. What are they trying to prove that they are more pious more holy? those who boast of their fasting and good works have received theire reward here on earth and not in the heavenly realms (Publican & Pharisee come to mind.) "I thank thee O' Lord that I am not like those who celebrate the Christmas season, I fast and give to the poor.."
Please let us try not to descend into this kind of protective stance.
We are only talking among each other as 'orthodox' on this point.
You and I can benefit from orthodox people who are truely rich in fasting life and giving. These types of people are a blessing for our faith and the world. May God give them the strenght to struggle with BEING Holy for Christ sake and to endure those who mock them.
There is no "in your face" from these types like the jews of old the way I see it; a sort of "we are holy and your not" as you seem to imply because of their lifestyle. I imagine there are people like that; but that can go both ways.......
It is not required that we ring jingle bells, and teach our kids lies about the north pole and erect trees in our homes and exchange gifts to embrace this season.
Actually these acts appear more akin to what you are saying:"I thank thee O' Lord that I am not like those who celebrate the Christmas season, I fast and give to the poor.."
with the the change "I do not fast and I have all the good things of Christmas"
But all this is not the issue here most importantly. It is in my opinion that this only ripe for argument not progressive serious imput that can add value to our orthodox lives.
If one of us takes a very purest approach to the Advent season than that is good for us all. If one of us is very open an liberal applying all the normal "trappings" of the holiday. Than let that person use his/her approach to enrich each of us in the faith of orthodoxy by sharing how such activities are good and beneficial and uplifting to the orthodox christian way of life.
It is a two way street.
There is no intention to make each other feel bad or "less" "holy" or psuedo holy either.
If someone can add to this thread good cause for "orthodoxy" with all the money we spend and the stories we tell our children than thats what I am hoping for.
For example these santa clauses in the streets and stores are raking up; especially the costume guy. I have yet to find saint nick in the list of orthodox saints. Can somebody provide info on this.
I am sure if he is a saint recognised by the Holy Church he is not from the north pole or slides down chimney's. So why do we spend so much money on the 'fable' and teach this falicy to our children?
We can use fantasy with our kids of course but not in lieu of the truth.
Thus if their is a real Saint Nicholis in the Holy Church why don't we throw out teaching our kids about the guy in the north pole and teach them the truth?
The real St. Nicholis would not be rendered in a furry red suit which imitates the skins worn by the early Germanic pagan shaman. Or riding in a wacked out sled carried by flying reindeer. This all sounds like something that stumbled out of the mind of a crack addict or somebody tripped out on herroin. NOT orthodoxy at all.
I can give to the church money and gifts during Advent since this in my mind is the best way to follow the traditions of the Magi. The Magi did not exchange gifts with each other to my knowledge.
Somebody tweeked the story a little it seems.
I have a hard time giving to the guy in the red suit in Macy's or to Macy's.
I am not enlightened on how reindeer and elves and "rockin around the christmas tree" and the like figures into orthodox christianity.
I see these things as innocent traditions that (may) mean to do something good but is largely money oriented and for all the good they may intend (or do provide) thier is'nt much really beneficial that can be redeemed.
Maybe a long time ago these traditions were more fruitful and redeeming to our faith and the world by truely edifiying and glorifiying God in our Savior Jesus Christ. If it ever was that is long past gone now especially in the USA.
World markets are waiting to tally up the 'christmas cash'. That cash will make or brake many businesses and industries worldwide.
The baby Jesus means nothing to these wicked profiteers that scortch our childrens minds with all the 'stuff' that is all over the place.
For me I will keep my money and time in my pocket to use it in ways that benefit the bottom line of the Holy Church. The best I can.
I am a sinner for sure.
I am sharing this with all in hopes that we can help each other and not to criticize each other. Each of us has to make the best decisions for our readiness to be Gods people in he face of thbis lost world.
I am not trying to make out to be some holy person. I am not.
The Lord already knows that I am a fool; so I will not be surprised if I am viewed as one by my fellow orthodox.