Orthodox Christians practice the Nativity Fast which extends from November 15th through December 24th. The fast is quite strict, no meat, fish with a backbone, dairy, eggs, oil or wine as a general matter, though there are easings of the Fast on Tuesdays and Thursdays (allowed wine and oil) and fish wine and oil are allowed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Truth be told, this fast is honored more in the breach than in the keeping, at least the food part. But this period is still seen by Orthodox Christians as intensely penitential. We are continually to pray “O LORD, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips.” and thus “fast” from anger, greed, etc. It is a time of year when almsgiving is particularly encouraged. All in all, it is antithetical to the secular spectacle we started seeing around us yesterday.
**We are continually to pray O LORD, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips.**
Good words for all of us to say all the time!