But this week, and many other times of the year, it can be challenging to actually feel thankful when the circumstances of life take an unwanted turn. Personally, this week I find my mother’s heart heavy with concern over the safety of my son, a prodigal. I just finished an email conversation with a friend who signed off with, “Thanksgiving is a big mess for me right now.” And it is. My cousin is facing her first holiday without the man she has walked decades alongside.
Thankfulness can be tricky.
So it seemed timely to share some thoughts from a book I just finished. The book is called, One Thousand Gifts
and is written by Ann Voskamp. She wrote the book as the result of a challenge made by a friend to record 1000 gifts and express thanks for them. This challenge sent her on a journey that resulted in an unintended discovery.
Ann discovers a perspective which had remained elusive to her prior to the challenge of recording 1000 gifts. She records a moment when she shared with her son that a sense of peace no matter the circumstances does not come about by changing what
we see, but the way
we see. Ann attributes the act of being thankful to opening her to a new place. A place where she can see that all is grace, all is love, even in the hard places.
You may be entering this holiday where thanksgiving is coming easily. You may not. Either way, I offer this excerpt from her book as words to ponder.
“I can say it certain now: All is grace.
I see through the woods of the world: God is always good and I am always loved.
God is always good and I am always loved.
Everything is eucharisteo.
Because eucharisteo is how Jesus, at the Last Supper, showed us to transfigure all things—take the pain that is given, give thanks for it, and transform it into a joy that fulfills all emptiness. I have glimpsed it: This, the hard eucharisteo. The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty. The hard discipline to give thanks for all things at all times because He is all good. The hard discipline to number the griefs as grace because as the surgeon would cut open my son’s finger to heal him, so God chooses to cut into my ungrateful heart to make me whole.
All is grace because all can transfigure.”
November 24, 2011; Thanksgiving Day. I love everything about this holiday. Autumn is my favorite season. Preparing to spend time with those I love and share a delicious meal, there’s almost nothing better in life. And the mere thought of taking time to be intentionally thankful brings a smile to my face.