Thanksgiving always precedes the miracle

Once again, like I try to do every November I am reading One Thousand gifts by Ann Voscamp. There is something about this book that gets right to the heart of me. It brings me back from all the stuff and demands I pay attention to the thing that truly matters…Eucharisteo.

Where is my head? Not directing my feet as I stumble around in the dark. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” If my head stays in the Word it becomes a part of my heart. My heart that pumps the very blood of life. The thing that circulates and causes my feet to move and find sure footing. With His word I can see the path before me. And still I stumble. I grumble. I find some little thing to get stuck in the mud on. I forget that the light is before me. I forget that in thankfulness are the stepping stones for dry and sure footing. In thankfulness am I able to truly see.

Of course, one book at a time is not my style. And in two other books I’ve been reading I find that I’m being spoken to about meditation, meditation of the Word. It’s all about where my thoughts are. What am I actually dwelling on? What feast is on my table that I am savoring? Am I drinking of the life-giving water? Not just a nibble. Not just a sip. Meditation is when I am coming to the place where am am being immersed in just one thing. Just one thing… Just ONE thing.

Why is this so important? Why do I have to sit in this one place? Read this one word. Why does it take all this energy to really get it? Because, without thanksgiving everything else falls apart. Without my sole contemplation being a place of seeing the fullness of what I have been given, I have no solid ground.

Because when you spend time with just the one thing you begin to see differently. Anne writes of the Greek work for Thanksgiving – Eucharisteo. A word that falls funny from my mouth the first few times I say it. A word that is in another language than the one I speak. Why does this word in this language matter so much? This, the point of meditation. One word, one word is so much more than one. Eucharisteo is not limited. It has so much meaning. Charis – Grace (Do you see it there?) Eucharisteo – Thanksgiving  (Because of grace we can be so thankful) And deep within both grace and thanksgiving lives CHARA -Joy. When in thanksgiving we find joy.

Ah, and there is the light. My path before is clearly seen. No longer to stumble around blindly. The fetters of grumbling and complaining are left by the wayside. Jesus said ” Come to me all you who are weary (from rituals and religion) and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle (this is the unforced rhythm of grace) and you will live freely and lightly (with joy)[my paraphrase]. Jesus set the example of thanksgiving. He lived it. He didn’t just talk about it. He didn’t just offer it when everything was going well. He gave thanks in the moments of pain and found the joy. The JOY. For what do I lack in this moment that cannot be found in grace, thanksgiving and joy?

Eucharisteo is my feast. It is for the moments I find myself alone and in the great sharing of time I am surrounded. In this place I can dwell and be satisfied. In this place, I can find rest. All the rituals of the season. All the lists of the daily grind. These are not the things that satisfy. Being stuck because of to-dos does not create a miracle. The miracle of blessing comes when I am stuck on Thanksgiving. For in thanksgiving I am freed to bless others. In thanksgiving, I am free to receive the blessing. This is the secret hidden in plain sight.




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