Taste and See: Fasting and Waiting for the Nativity (Guest Post)

Today’s guest post is from my friend and chef extraordinaire, Melissa Naasko. Cool story: Melissa planned the menu for the recent Ancient Faith Women’s retreat (Nov 15-18), which means I got to spend the first few days of the fast eating her Lenten handiwork. Some of the best fasting “conference food” I’ve ever had! Today Melissa is reflecting…

40 Days of Divine Liturgy: Marking Time during the Nativity Fast (Guest Post)

Welcome to Day 14 of the Nativity Fast (NC)! (Has it really only been two weeks?) In this morning’s edition of the blogathon, Richard Barrett, executive director of AGES Initiatives, shares with us what he’s learned in recent years about the tradition of Saranteleitourgo. If you have no idea what that means, keep reading–you won’t be disappointed.  ~*~ Three…

How I Learned to Pray (Almost) Every Morning, And Free Sheet Music (Guest post)

This morning I am delighted to introduce one of my good friends and music aficionado, Sarah Bereza. She’s going to tell us a bit about how she adopted a morning prayer and singing routine with her toddler… ~*~ Do you wish you prayed every morning? Or most mornings? Or at least, some mornings? For a long time, I didn’t pray…

“Life as it actually is”: Reading Fr. Alexander Elchaninov during the Nativity Fast

What are you reading this Nativity? In the past, I have shared the books I frequently return to this season (here and here). This year, I’m also reading through The Diary of a Russian Priest (SVS Press, 1967), a gathering of reflections by Fr. Alexander Elchaninov. This is a perfect book for devotional reading because it consists of brief, poignant observations,…

6 Practices to Combat Despondency with Deacon Michael Hyatt

Now that US Thanksgiving has passed, we are really heading into the Christmas season. Everything around us seems to remind us that Christmas is coming–the dull weather, the cold temps, and the Christmas music blaring from store speakers. For many of us, December is not so much a high point of Christian joy but of spiritual despondency. This…

What is Death? Part 1 (Guest Post)

Happy Thanksgiving! I can think of no topic more appropriate for this day than a good ol’ conversation about death and dying. Just kidding–I’m not trying to be metaphorical. It’s not a holiday up here in Canada and when I was planning this blogathon, I completely forgot to develop a post about US Thanksgiving. Generally you folks don’t…

Keep the Cross in Christmas: Reframing the Annual Culture Wars

Honestly, I’m kind of bracing myself for the annual Christmas wars. Any day now, people will start populating their newsfeeds with the frantic mantra to “Keep Christ in Christmas!” It’s not that I wish to minimize the importance of Christmas or that I’m unconcerned about religious liberty. In this case, though, I wonder if we actually recognize what…

Waiting in Faithful Expectation for the Fullness of Time (Guest Post)

Welcome to the next installment of the Nativity Blogathon on Time Eternal. This morning, I am SO EXCITED to introduce you to my beloved spiritual father, Fr. Steven Kostoff. _Time and Despondency_ readers may recall from its sporadic references to him that Fr. Steven has been lending his pastoral guidance to my despondency almost as soon as I…

Marking Time: The Christmas Countdown

When I was growing up, our holidays were very secular. We didn’t belong to a church, and we didn’t experience liturgical seasons like the Orthodox do. My mom was Danish, and because Denmark happens to be a Lutheran nation, there are some secular Danish traditions that grow out of the Lutheran experience.  In particular, the Danes love to…