Del Rosario: On fasting and feasting

YOU and I know that Jesus is the Reason for the Christmas Season. But our materialistic society is more focused on the commercial aspect of the season. It is the season of gift giving, of partying, and of feasting on food.

There is nothing wrong with the tradition of exchanging gifts and with families coming together to celebrate. In fact, I believe The Celebrant would be happy to see us all happy. But, wouldn't He be happier if we remember to include Him in the celebration?

What would be a great way to prepare ourselves to celebrate the birthday of Christ?

I notice that the cold weather ushers in the “blue” feelings in many of us. Some people become down and depressed come November or December.

Maybe there’s a scientific basis to it. That would be for somebody else to write about.

I like to believe it is also a time when we experience what others call the “dark nights of the soul.”

When we are overwhelmed with a to-do list (aside from our Christmas list,), which is a kilometer long, when we can’t hear God over the noise of the world, and our souls ache, becoming hungry and thirsty for God, what do we do? Courtney Joseph, the author of Women Living Well says, “Sometimes the only way to quench a spiritual thirst is to fast.”

“Fasting is a spiritual discipline that feeds our souls while we starve our bodies. Every time our minds signal I want food, it’s a signal for us instead to pray.” This is to me, a most enlightening description. It’s a light bulb turning on, and an accusing finger pointed at me! Fasting from food is actually an opportunity to feast on God’s words.

I have personally tried fasting in the past. I have to confess though that more often than not, it turned out to be more of dieting. Courtney’s words hit home hard. “Without prayer, fasting is simply a diet.”

My Dearest fellow Feasters,

The seemingly endless parties, (pre Christmas, Christmas and post Christmas parties) have already started filling up my calendar. Some people I know started dieting a few months back, in preparation for the expected Feasting that the Season of Christmas brings in.

Have you started your Christmas list? Do you have a birthday gift for Jesus? How are you preparing your heart for His birthday?

Have you tried Fasting? The way Courtney describes it? I invite you to join me in a 1-day, 2-day, 3-day or a week long fast in preparation for the birthday of Jesus. Don’t let this fast paced (pun intended) and over commercialized society rob you of the grace of slowing down to pray and meditate on God’s words. Let this be your best gift to Jesus.

To make it an even more meaningful Christmas gift, why not fast on TV watching, web browsing, and game playing? Why not fast on negative thoughts, wounding words and selfish actions? I feel certain that we will come out of our fast, feasting and focused on the Reason for the Season, as we strive to become more like Him.

May this Christmas find us all with hearts prepared for Christ’s birthday celebration. Let’s Fast for the love of God, and continue to Feast on His abundant blessings.

u201cWhen you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:16-18


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