This year’s Christmas mailing, as is the case every year, includes an ecclesiastical wall calendar. It is written in Greek and in English. Notice each of the date boxes. They include: the day and number of the month, the name of the Saint(s) whose feast day falls on that day, and Scripture readings. The first reading refers to a part of the New Testament, which is found after the Gospels. In other words, from the Book of Acts, which follows the Gospel according to Luke, all the way to and including Jude, just before the last New Testament letter, Revelation. The second reading refers to one of the Gospels, found at the beginning of the New Testament—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You will notice, as well that some days are in a shaded blue color, while others are white. The calendars are being sent to you not just for purposes of information, but as opportunities for meditation and prayer. For example, reading the name of the Saint(s) whose feast day falls on that day, you might Google the Saint(s) name(s) and learn more about the Saint(s). You will notice that most of these were martyred for the Faith. They serve as examples of courage and faith, which are much-needed in our day. Then, look up the Scriptural readings. Read the passages and ponder what message God is sending you on that day. God, “who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the Truth,” as Saint Paul reminds us in his first letter to Timothy (1 Timothy 2:4). Finally, if a day appears in shaded blue, as is typical of most Wednesdays and Fridays, as well as a series of days prior to Pascha and Christmas, and also the first two weeks of August, this indicates it is a day of fasting. On those days, we eat less than on other days. Also, we eat things like readily available fruits and vegetables, avoiding meats and animal products and, therefore, excessive cooking and preparation. The reason why fasting was instituted by our Lord (actually He followed fasting traditions that He knew growing up), was so that we could devote more time to prayer and to being philanthropic—tending to the needs of others more, and less to our own needs. As the early Church fathers pointed out, we fast on Friday as we remember that our Lord was crucified and died for us on a Friday. We also fast on Wednesday as we remember His betrayal. As you can see, your 2018 ecclesiastical calendar is a very useful item, which your Cathedral is happy to provide. With this, we wish you a blessed Nativity and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year!