Growing in Gratitude

I suppose that it might seem cliched to focus our attention on gratitude in the month of November.

Tables heavy under too much rich food, decorated with turkeys and colored leaves mark a nation ‘giving thanks’. Around these groaning tables and tight waistbands, families list their many blessings: food, shelter, family, employment, freedom. And these are good. It is good to remember that many things come from beyond us and pass by without our noticing. Offering thanks feels like our Norman Rockwell moment of November.

I’m okay with the cliche to a certain point.

But I’m also interested in something deeper than “Thank you for passing the gravy.”

Gratitude is more than good manners and Southern charm. Gratitude is a spiritual practice that grows in us an eye for the way God is at work around us. Gratitude is a spiritual practice that shapes us into surrendered beings, rather than the shapers we pretend to be. Gratitude is a spiritual practice that invites us to choose our response to whatever life may bring.

In her fantastic book, One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp relays her story of growing in gratitude with beautiful prose. These quotes capture the foundational essence of her journey:

Charis-Grace.

Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving.

Chara. Joy.

A triplet of stars, a constellation in the black. A threefold cord that might hold a life? Offer a way up to the fullest life? Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo.

Eucharisteo! It might be the mystery to the fullest life…

Eucharisteo-thanksgiving-always precedes the miracle.

We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks. Thanksgiving-giving thanks in everything-prepares the way that God might show us His fullest salvation in Christ. I would never experience the fullness of my salvation until I expressed teh fullness of my thanks every day, and eucharisteo is elemental to living the saved life.

Eucharisteo, the Greek word with the hard meaning and harder meaning to live-this  is the only way from empty to full.

Some cliches dig a little deeper.

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