Today is the first day of the Cor Unum Advent Fast.
Our year is segmented into nine 40-day fasts, which totaling 360 days, leaves five days to spend in prayer and reflection for the year ahead.
Some of those fasts are as simple as “no eating between meals” or “no leisure reading.” It’s up to each, individually. Since the Lord made sure to include a chapter about the heart and the intent of fasting (Isaiah 58,) we try to make sure that what we do is what He can bless. Sometimes we skip a meal every day and spend that time in prayer. Sometimes we fast toward an outcome, as now at the beginning of the Advent Fast. From today until Thanksgiving we will be gathering a list of Bible verses that speak of thanksgiving, and meanwhile, we fast ingratitude. Look at these words … for all their attention to the system of sacrifice, God was looking for grateful hearts in Israel as He does in us. Without it, the bringing of bulls and goats was not what it was meant to be.
“Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you;
I am God, your God.
“I do not reprove you for your sacrifices,
And your burnt offerings are continually before Me.
“I shall take no young bull out of your house nor male goats out of your folds.
“For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills.
“I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is mine.
“If I were hungry I would not tell you, For the world is Mine, and all it contains.
“Shall I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of male goats?
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
And pay your vows to the Most High;
Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Psalm 50:7-15, NASB)
May I encourage you to dedicate this season of thanksgiving to … the giving of thanks! When we are simple and childlike enough to try it, it will change our lives. And may I say, perhaps not just online thanksgiving and the reading of seasonal posts … a daily season attached to your devotional hour, even if only two or three minutes long, of spoken gratitude, a “sacrifice of thanksgiving,” will matter more than you may be able to imagine.
The beautiful photo, rights permitted by Bene16 on Wikipedia, is a tapestry of fresh foods brought in celebration of Erntedankfest, the German Thanksgiving. While I lived there, it was a great pleasure to see and participate in the beautification of the entire altar area of our church with the best of the produce from every garden.