Although Advent traditions vary, the reason for observing Advent remains the same: to prepare our hearts for welcoming God's gift of light and love, His son Jesus.
I have never fasted for a season. I have done the 30 hour famine as a youth, albeit I wasn't aware of the way in which to fast or the truth of it. In any case this is new territory for me. I was so thankful that we received a FAQ regarding fasting so I could go into this time with the right attitude. After praying about it I felt led to give up my date night activities which was to watch our favorite TV shows on hulu.com or casttv.com. That is the part of my week that I look forward to the most. So I talked with Dustin about it and he understood. I felt God asking me to want to be in His presence as much as I long for my earthly husband's presence. So it was settled.
And then the day before the fast began, I started to have an aching in my heart. Giving up two nights was nothing in comparison to the heavenly realm that Jesus gave up to become a babe in a manger. I desired to forgo something that would be a constant reminder to me of the sacrifice Jesus gave for me. I wanted to hunger for something . If fasting is truly about giving up a lesser thing to gain something greater. And if it is letting go of something temporal to lay hold of the eternal, than I needed to find something else to give up. Instantly I knew my answer. I have given up something that has proven to be more challenging than I even realized when I choose to forgo it.
I will not reveal my choice until after the fast is over so let us call it trinkets. But let me say this: The very first day it hit me like a ton of bricks. I could not have trinkets. But I LOVE trinkets! I did not realize trinkets were in that. I can't have it. Really? God gently reminded me of Hebrews 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For the joy set before me I will joyfully forgo my enjoyment of trinkets knowing that as I do I am reminded of the beautiful gift God gave us in His Son. There is much anticipation of Christmas Day when I will be able to enjoy trinkets again. Just like there is much anticipation in the return of our king , Jesus Christ. Every day as I forgo my trinkets, God is teaching me something new. There are times when it isn't easy but then I remind myself, "... for the joy set before Him..." Should be an interesting 21 more days.