For most Americans the beginning of the Christmas season is observed the day after Thanksgiving. In Eastern Orthodoxy we begin our Advent or Nativity Fast on Nov. 15th.
I wanted to mix it up this season so I’m reading with a group of ladies through the Psalter (that incidentally was given to our family as a gift last Christmas from the Voss Family) the book of Psalms. It’s not too late if your interested. You can reach the group here at Adventures of an Orthodox Mom blog.
We started on Nov. 15th because reading the bible more than we normally do is a huge part of our fast and as busy as I am I wanted to do more this season. In addition to attending church more frequently, fasting, much more prayer, and alms giving I am determined to making reading the scriptures a priority.
I’ve done pretty well so far. The first day I had to do two days readings but the Psalter is broken up into sections so if I don’t stay on top of the daily readings I’m reading about 14 chapters in one seating and it’s hard to stay focused.
I have been reading in bed at night right before I go to sleep. Nothing magical or miraculous happens but hey if the last thing I do in the day is read the scriptures I’m one step closer to being ready to welcome the King of Glory into my heart, right?
It reminds me of a Psalm (119) I haven’t gotten to yet . . .thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.
The first few days readings were difficult. David talks a lot about needing to be rescued from his enemys. Lots of talk about evil doers and their deeds. But of course he always combats the evil with his hope in God; his refuge and salvation.
Last night I did read my very favorite Psalm, one we use in service and our prayers often; Psalm 50 (American bibles 51). David sings these words. . .Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness; according to the multitude of your tender mercy.
I love that opening sentence!
Loving kindness, tender mercy, what beautiful words. When I read them I picture the baby lying in a manger with his mother looking on in awe. I picture her thinking “The King of Glory sitting here in my lap, Wow!
It was His loving kindness and tender mercy that brought Him to us; a gift so wonderful. How will we receive this gift this season? I pray it is with the same affection it was given. I pray we observe the season with great care and attention to our soul so that we can receive the King of Glory in awe.
Thankful for this beautiful family today and wishing them a Glorious Nativity!