Fasting on Thanksgiving
Yes, I’m fasting on Thanksgiving. Wow – who would have ever imagined this? Why am I fasting on Thanksgiving? Well, my main motivation is that I am in the midst of a personal crisis, the nature of which suggests that my life will never be the same afterward. The details are, of course, very important to me, but they are not to be shared here. The point is that it is so important to me that I have decided to fast on Thanksgiving.
I express amazing gratitude to my wife, Diana. We were both lying awake in bed at 5:30 this morning. I was pondering the aforementioned crisis. I’m not sure why she was awake – something about “I can’t breathe”. Sheesh. Anyway, I was laying there trying to decide whether or not to fast, because I felt like I needed to commit such to the Lord. I turned over and said, “Sweetie, would it upset you terribly if I fasted today?” There were a few seconds of silence followed by, “Sure, I guess that’s ok. I’ll just eat a frozen burrito. No, wait! I have a TV dinner in the freezer! I’ll just eat my TV dinner!” Then she laughed in that sweet way she always laughs – very much like a child. She is so beautiful! She makes it much easier for me to fast on Thanksgiving.
I should make it clear that my decision to fast on Thanksgiving was also made much easier by the circumstances surrounding the day. We had been invited to dinner at Diana’s ex-husband’s wife’s son’s house (yeah – chew on that for a bit, and think about what a miracle of magnanimity and charity it is that we were even invited. There really is a great story buried in there) but it turns out that family dynamics were such that we turned down the invitation in favor of a quiet day with our daughter and grandsons. There are some things that even a miracle of magnanimity and charity cannot overcome. Then, when we invited our daughter and grandchildren to go with us to Golden Corral, it turns out that the thought of dinner at Golden Corral offended her increasingly vegan sensibilities. I pondered for a bit where else we could go together, but I don’t know what restaurants would be open that would not offend a vegan’s sensibilities on Thanksgiving Day. So, Diana and I were left with the prospect of dinner alone at Golden Corral – something that could be done any day. It had therefore become much less of a sacrifice to fast on Thanksgiving.
It’s kind of funny how this all came together. An unexpected spiritual crisis, a minor (or major, depending on the point of view of the family member) family crisis, one decision leading to another, and here I am – fasting on Thanksgiving. This was certainly not something I anticipated a short 5 days ago. There’s something very important about this, though, and that’s what I hope to share with you.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a day for expressing gratitude. I realize now that there’s something incredibly poetic about expressing gratitude with fasting. I would not have thought this yesterday. I would probably not have given great consideration to how symbolic it is that we express our gratitude for all with which the Lord has blessed us by demonstrating that we, on this traditional day of feasting, are willing to set aside the natural man and distance ourselves, at least temporarily, from babylon. It’s kind of like the sacrament or tithing – symbolic of a greater covenant between us and the Lord. (You can read more of this here). Because it is Thanksgiving, it is even more potently symbolic, don’t you think? The sacrifice, and thus the learning, should be just a little more intense. I hope the blessings that result are, likewise, a little more intense.
It is highly likely that I will never voluntarily fast again on Thanksgiving. For one thing, I hope I never again find myself in the middle of another crisis like the one that is prompting me to do so today. I hope we never have a family crisis like this one (yeah, right!) I also hope I never forget the lessons that I am learning today:
- There is very little in this world that is more precious than an eternal companion who can laugh in a situation like this, and satisfy herself with a frozen burrito for Thanksgiving dinner.
- Sometimes, the Lord just arranges things so that we have the opportunity to do the right thing. We really need to learn to recognize and take advantage of those opportunities.
- It is good that we remind ourselves frequently that the temporal needs of the natural man, the comforts and indulgences of babylon, must always be subordinated to the eternal needs of the true follower of Christ (Moroni 7:48). This is the covenant of which fasting is a type as I mentioned above.
Even before I decided to fast, I could feel the desire, and the power, to testify of Him flowing into me. Oh, if we only truly understood how much He loves us! If we only truly understood that we can become like Him, become one with Him, (John 17:20-21) if we will follow His example. If we could only fathom that everything we can ever hope for – truth, justice, mercy, righteousness, love…Zion – is all embodied in Him, and He wants nothing more than for us to come to Him, be fully redeemed from the fall, and taste the sweetness of the fruit that is brightest above all things. He invites. He awaits. Let us come unto Him.
I so testify, in an attitude of prayer, rejoicing, gratitude…and fasting… on Thanksgiving Day, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.