To all of my Eastern Catholic and Orthodox readers following the Julian Calendar (and, of course, to my dear Latin Catholic readers, albeit one day late), I wish all of you a blessed Nativity Fast. Although the official fasting prescriptions for Catholics following the Byzantine Rite have been reduced in recent decades, according to Fr. Raymond Janin’s Es Eglises Orientales et Les Rites Orientaux (1922), the Nativity Fast consists of abstention from all food cooked with or containing meat, eggs, and dairy products. Unlike the more severe Lenten Fast, oil and fish are allowed throughout Advent except on Wednesdays and Fridays. Moreover, though not “official,” the partaking of alcoholic beverages is typically limited during Advent, though like with so many things Eastern, local custom reigns supreme.
I make mention of this not to dictate how you ought to observe Advent, but to highlight that this is a season of sober anticipation for the greatest event in human history, the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is not a time for revelry or worldliness. It is not a period which should be drowned by consumerism. God is coming in the flesh to raise the image of man. May we all find the way to prepare accordingly.