Some Orthodox are not aware that another beautiful service of anticipation is offered during the Nativity fast: the Advent Paraklesis.
Why do it? Why do we need another way to mark Nativity? Aren’t there already enough things going on this time of year?
If anything, Nativity needs more spiritual tools for us to mark the time. It is one of the two major fasts in the church, and like Lent, the Church increases its fasting and offers more services. If anything, we need to deepen our attention to these tools because of the increase in distractions available to us.
Fr. Thomas Hopko’s devotional for Nativity, The Winter Pascha is aptly named–Nativity is the Pascha of winter. We prepare ourselves for the visit of a the most unusual and important guest of all: the great mystery of the incarnation.
Let the people that once sat in darkness see the Light shine forth that knows no evening: Him whom the star once made known to kings from Persia who worshipped fire.
– from Ode 5 of the Advent Paraklesis
There’s so much more beauty to partake of during the Winter Pascha. Give the Advent Paraklesis service a listen and a read here. And better yet, make time to go and listen to the ancient hymns of preparation.