The Nativity Fast is a time of unfolding. Although the fasting rules do not specifically address such things as when Christmas decorations should be put up in the home or the playing of Christmas carols, it is best to move into these sorts of things gradually. Christmas lights should be welcomed in anticipation of Nativity itself and in remembrance of the star the Magi followed. Since western Christmas carols are not a part of Orthodox services, when they are to be played in church is not a problem as they are never played in church. The fasting rules themselves become more rigorous as Christmas Day approaches, with fish no longer allowed. A fuller sense of joy can replace the small place that had been occupied by fish. We need to remember why we are fasting, what we are preparing for, Who is coming. A small stillness must be kept in the midst of the Christmas busyness. Let Christ and His Mother find room in your Inn this Nativity Season.
O Mother of God, in a wondrous manner you conceived the Word and Wisdom of God. You brought into the world its Maker, holding in your arms the One who holds the whole earth in His hands, the Sustainer of the cosmos, the Creator and Lord. Thus, O all-holy Virgin, I glorify you and ask you in faith for the remission of my sins. At the hour in which I stand before my Creator, O holy Virgin and Lady, grant me your help through the favor which you always have before God. (Orthros Service of December 5)