“And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-11)
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“Consecrate a fast”
We started the Holy Nativity fast; and I’d like to talk about the idea of fasting. We have three items to talk about:
I- The Church did not create the idea of fasting
As we know:
1- When God created Adam, He allowed him to eat from the herbs and fruits, (Genesis 2:16). But after the flood, the Lord allowed the human being to eat meat (Genesis 9:3)
So when we abstain eating meat, in fast, we live like Adam before he committed a sin.
2- In the Old Testament, they fast four months every year (Zechariah 8/19)
3- When Esther had troubles, she asked all the Jews, saying, “Fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days” (Esther 4:16)
4- King David fasted seven days, sitting on the ground because his child was sick. (2 Samuel 12) And he said. “I humbled myself with fasting” (Psalm35/13)
5- To overcome satin, Our Lord advised us to pray and fast, as He said “This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Mt17: 21).
6- The Pharisees fasted twice a week. (Luke 18/12)
So, fasting is an old tradition since the creation of mankind.
II- Why we fast 43 days?
- These 40 days match to the 40 days that Moses fasted on the mountain, before receiving the word of God (the Ten Commandments). So we fast those 40 days to receive the Word of God in flesh, I mean our Lord Jesus Christ.
- An additional 3 days were added at the beginning of the 40 days of Advent
during the 10th century AD to commemorate the miracle of moving the Mokattam mountain, through Saint Simon the tanner during the ruling of Al-Muizz Li-Deenillah Al- Fatimi.
III: Two kinds of fasting
1- Good fast:
- The Lord describe it saying, "To share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out, when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?
(Isaiah 58/ 6&7)
2- Bad fast:
- As the fast of the Pharisee, when he said, “I fast twice a week …” (Luke 18/12), but he went down to his house unjustified.
- As the fast of Queen Jezebel to get rid of Naboth when he refused to give his vineyard to her husband, Ahab the king of Samaria. (1king 21)
IV: What is the wisdom behind fasting?
- When we control our stomach we can easy control our thoughts and behavior.
- So, do not change only the kind of food but first change your thoughts, your weakness, and your behavior.
Let us fast from sins and ask God to forgive our sins.
Washing all of you a most blessed fast of the Nativity.
Glory to God forever