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The first weekend of September (Gregorian calendar) and the 14th of September (Old Calendar) both marked the beginning of the Church New Year in the Orthodox faith. The Church New Year can be characterized as the renewal of the church liturgical cycle. For some pious Orthodox, this IS the New Year as December 31st on the secular calendar has little or no value to them. What else does it mean to you?
Start by making this year a fulfilling one for you and your family.
Cultivate a prayer routine
Get in the habit of saying morning and evening prayers together. There are short versions of Orthodox prayers in the free prayer book app for children to recite. Once you and your family gets used to the habit, include an akathist after dinner with those evening prayers. Praying together should be mutual and something everyone feels on the same page with.
Learn to spend few minutes in silence every day
Prayer is more than just words on a page and even more than just empty words said, it is cultivating conversation with God. This often takes meditation and sitting in silence on our parts. Learn to trust yourself and try sitting in meditation for a short while every day to reflect – on your prayer life, on how you’re handling life lately and what you could do better.
The New Year is a good time to “deep clean” physically and emotionally. Physically, go through your house and sort through any old items you don’t need anymore. Take inventory of what you can donate or give away and what you need and can reasonably obtain within the new year. Emotionally, start preparing yourself for confession. Recommended reading: The Path to Confession.
Celebrate Feast Days
Our Priests don’t celebrate Feast Days for the good of their health. Feast Days are a huge deal in the church liturgical cycle and I’m going to try to post ideas on how you and your family can take advantage in learning to make the most of some of our major and minor feast days.
Read about the Lives of the Saints
Our saints are more than just art hanging on our church walls. Our saints lived their lives for the faith and they died for it. I am really impressed by the free Prayerbook app. If you click the calendar feature, you can read about the lives of saints for that day.
Get involved at church
The church is your second home or should be…and everyone possesses some talent where their help is useful. Regardless if it’s singing or teaching or cooking or website savviness, there’s a job that everyone can do.
Does anyone have any other ideas that helped them? Please feel free to share in the comments below.