If we do not meet Christ in the poor, neither will we meet Him in the manger.
St. Philip’s Fast, or the Nativity Fast, begins on November 15 and ends with the Divine Liturgy for the Nativity of our Lord, God, and Saviour Jesus Christ on December 25.*
Holy Tradition teaches us that we derive no spiritual benefit from fasting voluntarily unless, at the same time, we feed those who are forced by circumstances to fast involuntarily. St. John Chrysostom teaches that, if we do not meet Christ in the poor, neither will we meet Him in the Chalice. St. Maximus the Confessor teaches that, if we do not give alms cheerfully every day, we have not even begun to become God.
The editors of Orthodoxy in Dialogue wish to propose Feeding the Hungry Together for the duration of the Fast. This provides an opportunity for our faithful readers around the world to come together virtually in a global community of Christian love for the purpose of almsgiving.
Depending on how much we collect, on the morning of the Nativity, December 25, a small team of adults and children will walk the streets of downtown Toronto and give between $20 and $40 to every homeless man, woman, and child we meet. Some will have a dog with them. They will have spent the frigid, Canadian winter’s night sleeping in doorways and on the bare sidewalk. They will have gotten up that morning wondering if God will send them something to eat, anything, to celebrate His coming into the world to become one of us. They will look with yearning as Christians hurry by in their holiday attire on their way to their churches or to their family gatherings in their warm, cozy homes.
Please give from a cheerful heart on our GoFundMe page [link disabled 12/22/17], whatever you can, either once or often during the Fast: whether your gifts are large or small or in between, the Lord sees your love and your intentions, and blesses them all.
This Christmas morning, join us in feeding the hungry together. Join your prayers to ours for the success of this endeavour.
*Our brothers and sisters who follow the Julian calendar begin the Fast on November 28 and celebrate the Nativity on January 7.