Being Thank-Full in a Grace-Full World

232: Messy tables and inspriations

“Eucharist [thanksgiving] is the state of the perfect man. Eucharist is the life of paradise. Eucharist is the only full and real response to God’s creation, redemption, and gift of heaven.”

(Alexander Schmemann)

Our young ladies book club is going through One Thousand Gifts together, and I just started reading the book this week.

Ann Voskamp, the author, has such a beautiful style of writing, and it’s severely captivating. But more than her words being lyrical and breathtaking in their description, what she says is so convicting. She presses me to take a step back and examine my own life; my walk, my goals, my main focus.

And when I examine, I feel, in a word, ungrateful. This world I have lived in every day of my life is full of so much detail–gorgeous, intricate details–of which I simply choose, somehow, to overlook no matter how obvious they are. But we–I–have chosen not to only focus on the good, because we are–I am–so often distracted by the flaws rather than the impeccable array of love and beauty and grace.

The root word for eucharisteo (meaning “give thanks”) is charis, which means “grace.” Voskamp says, “But there is more … Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivitive, the Greek word chara, meaning ‘joy.'” And as Augustine put it, “Without exception … all try their hardest to reach the same goal, that is, joy.” Later, Voskamp writes, “If living eucharisteo is the key to unlocking the mystery of life, this I want.”

“Standing before that tree, laden with fruit withheld, we listen to Evil’s murmur, ‘In the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened …’ (Genesis 3:5 NASB). But in the beginning, our eyes were already open. Our sight was perfect. Our vision let us see a world spilling with goodness. Our eyes fell on nothing but the glory of God. We saw God as He truly is: good. But we were lured by the deception that there was more to a full life, there was more to see. And, true, there was more to see: the ugliness we hadn’t beheld, the sinfulness we hadn’t witnessed, the loss we hadn’t known.”

There are little gifts in every single God-given moment, and so many of those God-gifts have sadly already passed without a single glance from me. But no more! I want to make sure I remember to take notice of these precious little things, and you know what? I thought I was happy before. But this! This is even closer to true happiness than I have known.

“Do not disdain the small,” Voskamp writes. “The whole of the life–even the hard–is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole.”

If God was so interested in adding so much detail to everything, giving so many gifts, then it is my privilege, my pleasure–my duty as His one very small piece of cherished handiwork–to take notice. It is my place to recognize His gifts, and to be a thankful participant in His grand, full-of-grace/grace-full world.

“Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always GIVEN, never grasped. God GIVES gifts and I GIVE thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy. … There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.”

“When I name moments … I am Adam and I discover my meaning and God’s, and to name is to learn the language of Paradise.” Her dare is to write down 1,000 little gifts from God we might would normally overlook. “I name. And I know the face I face. God’s! God is in the details; God is in the moment.”

I am on #233 now, myself, writing in and learning “the language of Paradise” and I am so easily finding such BIG joy in very LITTLE things!

“…MEDITATE on ALL HIS WONDERS. Glory in His holy name; let the heart of those who SEEK the LORD BE GLAD.” (1 Chronicles 16:9-10 NASB, emphasis added)

Glory in Him. Seek Him. Be glad–have full JOY.

“You will SEEK Me and FIND Me when you SEARCH for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13 NASB, emphasis added)

I want to seek Him, with all my heart, in every piece of every moment in this little infinity I have been given.

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, GIVING THANKS through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:17 NASB, emphasis added)

I hope you have a very blessed, full-of-thanks/thank-full day!


2 thoughts on “Being Thank-Full in a Grace-Full World

  1. Very good food for thought. I had a rude awakening on my birthday this year when I googled how many days old I was! Tonight I googled it and found I was 23,041 days old! Then I went to Math Cats and it told me I was 33,178,851 minutes old! And when you go there you can see the seconds ticking off the minutes. When you think about living that many minutes, it makes you wonder how many minutes passed by, like you said, without noticing God’s beautiful world and how He has blessed you each and every one of them. It’s very shameful indeed. It really makes you think how badly we fall short. Thank God, He loves us unconditionally and forgives us our shortcomings. Thank you Courtney for reminding us to take time to be joyful!


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