On November 15th, we will begin the 40 day Christmas Lent.
Christ, in His earthly life fasted frequently. He endured temptation and hunger like every man, but He did not sin. He kept the fast. In this way He gave us the example to follow. When the Jewish leaders asked Christ why His disciples were not fasting, He said that so long as the Bridegroom is with them, the children do not fast, but when the Bridegroom is taken away, then they will fast. In this way, Christ indicated that from the time of His Passion, His followers would begin to fast. In obedience to this command from our Lord, Christians fast.
Fasting for Orthodox Christians is to overcome our Passions. A passion is anything that has control over us, such as over eating, smoking, gossip, sinful thoughts and sinful deeds. All of these things captivate the soul, subjecting the man created in the image and likeness of God to things that are earthly and not profitable for our souls and our salvation. The first step in overcoming the passions is fasting and prayer.