Yesterday morning I went to a book discussion held by our pastor’s wife on One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I highly recommend this book. It is thought provoking and powerful. My only issue is her style – you’re either going to love it or hate it, and I hate it. But I decided to look past her style because the content is so wonderful. I haven’t finished the book (I’ve read through chapter 6) since there is so much to ponder as you read it. Apparently the last chapter is rather controversial in Christian circles, but I can’t offer an opinion on that yet.
I am not a very thankful person. I am negative, cynical, and I complain a lot. One Thousand Gifts has helped me more deeply understand why I am so ungrateful. In the first chapter, Voskamp writes:
“Satan’s sin becomes the first sin of all humanity: the sin of ingratitude. Adam and Eve are, simply, painfully, ungrateful for what God gave. Our fall was, has always been, and always will be, that we aren’t satisfied in God and what he gives. We hunger for something more, something other.”
Ingratitude is rooted in my heart, in my nature. But through Christ, I am capable of being thankful. When I am thankful, I am filled with the joy for which I am searching. Voskamp points out that on the night that he was to die, Christ took the bread, he gave THANKS and broke it and shared it with his disciples. Voskamp says
“As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible.…Facing the abandonment of God himself (does it get any worse than this?), Jesus offers thanksgiving for even that which will break Him and crush Him and wound Him and yield a bounty of joy.”
Later in the book, she discusses the importance of naming. Adam’s first task was to name the creatures. “Naming offers the gift of recognition,” she says. And so she started to write a list, a list of one thousand things for which she was grateful. I started writing a list, too. So far I only have 12 things, but I’m going to keep on naming.
- Baseball games on a warm day
- Board games
- Baby sized footprints
- Cool breezes
- Saturday mornings
- Bright orange pumpkins