It is in our human nature to fall into routines, to accept the status quo and not look for more. Routines are comfortable; they are safe and easy; we can predict (to a limited extent) how our lives will be from day to day. There are some aspects about routines that are, in fact, beneficial in our lives. For example, it is good to be in a routine of saying our morning and evening prayers. It might also be beneficial to be in a morning routine so that we will be at our place of employment on time every day.
But routines and the sticking to the status quo can also have drawbacks. In our life as Christians, we might be able to do more. Maybe we could be doing more to help the poor and the sick, or it could be as simple as maybe needing to be there more for a friend or family member who is need of advice or in need of our love and support. Maybe we could be praying more or attending more of the services of the Church, especially during the fasts (this should be done in conjunction with the guidance of one’s spiritual father, of course). Maybe we regularly attend the Divine services, but do nothing more at our parish. But parishes always need help from their parishoners to help keep things running, whether it be helping by sitting on the parish council, cooking food for Trapeza, or cleaning. We should always be looking for more, each according to their abilities. How many of us are eager to look for more when it comes to increasing our financial status, or look for more in regards to advancing in our careers? We should be even more eager to pursue more in regards to our spiritual lives and in regards to our life in the Church.
We should recognize this temptation to keep the status quo, to keep our routine, and not look for more. In this way, the evil one hopes to prevent our spiritual life from growing, to prevent us from doing good works for the Church and our neighbor. Maybe we are afraid to seek more, afraid of what the “next step” might bring? Maybe we are afraid of falling flat on our face? Let us not fear, but find consolation in Christ, and ask Him for strength and courage. Remember the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). We should strive to be like the two men who doubled the talents that they were given because of their faith, who sought for more according to their abilities, and not be like the man who had one talent, who was too afraid to seek out more, who felt safe not seeking for more with his one talent, and who was hence condemned. Yes, we may fall on our path to seek out more, to not settle for the status quo, but we must never lose faith that Christ is with us, and that when we do fall down, we should recognize that we have fallen, look for the cause, and get back up and keep going.
There is no reason why we shouldn’t take the initiative to seek for more. May the Most Holy Theotokos guide us all in our path to seek for more, and may you all have a blessed Nativity Fast!