In the Ustiug Annunciation (12th century), Our Lady conceives the Word in her womb immediately.
Now we are coming up to 8 months from March 25th, and soon St Joseph would be gathering up his pregnant wife to ride along the side of a donkey for the long journey to Bethlehem in Judea, where Jesus will be born to fulfill the prophets of old.
The Christmas Fast/ Saint Philip’s Fast/ Filipovka begins on Nov. 15. This is the 40 day preparation for the Nativity of Our Lord on December 25. It continues through Christmas Eve, which is a day of strict fast and abstinence. It is named after Saint Philip, because it begins on his feast day. “Forty” has great significance in our religious history, from the forty years of Israel’s wandering in the desert to be purified so as to enter into the Holy Land, to the forty days of Great Lent before Easter. This season is also filled with feast days of Old Testament prophets who spoke of the coming of the messiah.
This is from the website of the Archeparchy of Presov, in Slovakia:
In the Slavic tradition [which this parish follows], Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are days of abstinence from meat during this Fast. The fasting is designed to help us to prepare to see Christ come into the world, and the beginning of His public ministry on Theophany (January 6). The Nativity and the Theophany are two sides of one coin. So, when we arrive at Bethlehem on December 25, we should begin to prepare for the Baptism of the Lord. Our enjoyment of Christmas should drive us forward to see the Theophany. With Theophany, the mystery of God is fully revealed to us. The mystery long awaited in the Old Testament comes true in Jesus Christ.
The regulations of this Fast are not as strict, as it falls during the winter, and so abstinence remains in force for Friday, and is recommended for Wednesday and also Monday. Christmas Eve is a day of strict fast.
St Philip the Apostle. Philip says to Nathaniel in John 1:46 Come and see. He does the same with Greeks in Jerusalem, bringing them to Jesus. He is not Philip the
Evangelist, found in Acts. They are two separate men. Archaeologists claimed in 2011 that his tomb was found in the ancient city of Hierapolis, in modern Turkey, in the center of an ancient Roman church. So Philip the Apostle did do his own share of evangelizing after the Gospel accounts. His feast day launches the Fast of St. Philip/ Filipovka to prepare for Christmas. He brought others to Christ; we should be imitating him and bringing others to find Jesus in the fullness of revelation in the Catholic Church.
Tomb of St. Philip the Apostle in Hierapolis, Turkey.