I Almost Forgot – It’s Time to be Thankful
It’s almost Thanksgiving, just one more week and I will be in a Honeybaked Ham, cheese potato, Burt’s pumpkin pie, turkey-infused coma. I should probably start letting all my friends know that I am thankful for something before that glorious event takes place. Isn’t that what we are supposed to do this time of year? Show and tell everyone that we are thankful, especially if we have some type of social media account?
I am actually quite late on this, because anyone that is really thankful has been doing a daily thankfulness public post since November 1. This is a great time of year for a renewed interest in being thankful. For one month – or at the very least one day (Thanksgiving Day) out of the year we are all a little more conscious of our indebtedness to someone for something.
This is a judgment against myself – I think we (feel free to insert your name, too) focus way too little on being thankful. I am thankful (catch that? I am thankful) that as a society we at least take a day, maybe a month, to be thankful for God’s blessings. I am not necessarily saying that it’s bad just to emphasize/focus for this month – I am glad that folks increase the level of thankfulness around this time of year. It’s to me a lot like Christmas – I don’t participate in Christmas as a religious holy day celebrating the birth of Christ, but how nice is it to see people focus on Christ even for a short-time? I love it!
One Thousand Gifts
Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are has been a great encouragement to me in my personal studies and striving to be more thankful and purposeful. I had seen the book all over, but never wanted to pick it up, because it looks and smells like a chick-book. In fact, I hope most of my male friends aren’t reading this article, with a reference to Ann’s book because having a 4-pound mini-Yorkie has pretty much already removed all the street cred I could have had with them before this. 🙂
I like Ann’s poetic style of writing. I consider it a rambling thinker kind of style – she writes how we think, but in a more majestic form than I could ever express. You can feel her genuine love for God spilling out onto every page.
I won’t bother to go into every detail of what she says and whether I agree or disagree with each component of the book, but I would recommend you read the book to help you appreciate seeing God more fully in your life. You will be more thankful as a result – there is much to gain from her writing. (By the way – she also has a great website).
One thing I especially appreciate is that Ann does a great job of educating you on and enlightening you about the term ‘eucharisteo.’ Yeah, I agree – that’s a weird word – eucharisteo. But, thanks to Ann, I have a little better understanding of the word, the origin, and what it can do for my life.
Ann explains eucharisteo in her book as a Greek word meaning thanksgiving, to be thankful. She says that it envelopes the Greek root word charis which means grace, and the derivative chara which is Greek for joy. An example of this Greek word being used in scripture is when Jesus took the bread, blessed it, and gave thanks. She says, “We too participate in eucharisteo in communion, and in life if we so choose.”
Not everything in Ann’s life has been joyful – she has gone through some pretty difficult times – as most of us have, but she has chosen to keep a thankful, eucharisteo perspective. It’s a perspective that I get to see over and over every day in my wife and I have come to appreciate it more and more. She looks for the positive, even when others are looking at the downside – she is thankful. EUCHARISTEO!
We have so much to be thankful for. We need to be a people of continual thanks. And this is just me preaching to… me. I am trying to be more thankful, continually. I have a journal that I keep track of things I am thankful for – mostly a lot of the smaller things – trying to remember that God is in them all. Be thankful for the little things. To you they might be little – like warm, clean running water from the faucet in your kitchen, but to a large population of this planet – that’s a luxury they will never experience.
Even in tough times – be thankful. You always have something you can be thankful for. Even when your husband or wife is being a butt-head, you still have reasons to be thankful; maybe your kids, your parents, your siblings, your work, your <fill in the blank>. Even when you have had a rough day at home with the kids, you still can be thankful that they are cancer-free, healthy, able to walk, etc. There is always a bright side, always something to be thankful for. Even in the absolute darkest times – I guarantee you that you have something to be thankful for, even if it is only (like this could be insignificant) on the highest spiritual level – you always have God!
Sometimes you need to just force the thankfulness out of yourself until it becomes a habit. Force yourself to make note of your gratitude. Do like I have mentioned before – get some friends together to do a daily thankfulness email where you each just reply back with something you are thankful for that day – keep it simple. Below I will list out some things that have come up on some of the thankfulness emails I have been a part of or maybe just some thoughts from my thankfulness journal.
I am thankful for you and your efforts to live a more purposeful, thankful life!
- “To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven.” -Johannes A. Gaertner
- “I am thankful for my struggle because without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled upon my strength?” – Alexandra Elle
- “I think I learned to appreciate and treasure each day, because you don’t know how many you’re going to be given.” – US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor
- “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” – H. U. Westermayer
- “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – The Buddha
- “Some people are always grumbling, because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr
- “Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.” – Thomas Goodwin
- “We pray for the big things and forget to give thanks for the ordinary, small (and yet really not small) gifts.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer
- Health of my children
- The grace, love, and mercy of God
- Public restrooms
- Opportunities to serve others
- Spending time with my family of choice
- Written word of God
- Long days of reading
- Smell of freshly cut grass
- Hearing the a/c kick on in the house
- Being able to go to the store and pay for food
- Tidy houses
- Frozen thin mint Girl Scout cookies and ice cold milk
- Recently cleaned car
- Hearing my kids say, “I love you!”
- Swimming pools
- The last day of work before vacation
- The way my wife’s skin feels
- Bananas in my cereal
- Wood floors, especially the old worn out farm house looking ones
- The sound my can of Mountain Dew makes when it is first opened
- The smell of gun powder while shooting
- People that hire the handicapped
- Christ’s sacrifice
- The Chanticleer Inn – Lookout Mountain
- Inspirational music filling the house
- Friends who encourage me
- Anticipating the kids’ return home after a week away
- Fall weather and colors
- Getting cards or letters in the mail