I’m in the midst of reading Anne Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts. In this New York Times bestseller, Voskamp beautifully shares the spiritual discipline of chronicling gifts. She writes:
In the original language, “he gave thanks” reads “eucharisteo.”
The root word of eucharisteo is charis, meaning “grace.” Jesus took the bread and saw it as grace and gave thanks. He took the bread and knew it to be gift and gave thanks.
But there is more, and I read it. Eucharisteo, thanksgiving, envelopes the Greek word for grace, charis. But it also holds its derivative, the Greek word chara, meaning “joy.”
… Deep chara joy is found only at the table of euCHARisteo—the table of thanksgiving. I sit there long … wondering … is it that simple?
Is the height of my chara joy dependent on the depths of my eucharisteo thanks?
As I read the book, I realize the importance of journaling and listing out “gifts.” I recognize that choosing thankfulness is the key to choosing joy. I knew this revelation was important information to pass on to my children and grandchildren.
I have a very large whiteboard in my laundry room; I decided this would be a perfect place to begin our list. I knew the idea of 1,000 gifts would be too much for my six- and nine-year-old grandchildren to grasp so I numbered the board to 100. I explained the idea—look for God’s gift in every situation. List all the true, noble, and right things you see. Write out all that is lovely and admirable, excellent and praiseworthy—focus on these things.
And so, our list began:
1. Hot showers
3. Fresh food
4. A beautiful sunrise
5. God being our King
6. A funny brother
7. Trash cans
8. Paper to color on
9. Feet to walk
10. Minds to think happy thoughts
And on and on it goes … in elementary handwriting and words that are precious and phonetically spelled. We aren’t to 100 yet, but when we get there, I will number that board again starting at 101 and numbering to 200, and when we finish that we will repeat until we reach 1,000. Because by the time we reach 1,000 their little minds will be trained to see the good in every situation. They will be on the lookout for God’s gifts and choose thankfulness, which in turn will lead to true joy.
Because my grandchildren live with me it is a little easier for me to teach this lesson daily. But don’t let that stop you. Get creative and make a list with your grandchildren. Maybe it is a journal that you share between your homes, or maybe it is calling or FaceTiming weekly and sharing your lists with each other. Consider making a list of 100 gifts on a chalkboard or whiteboard in your home for each time they visit. And don’t just stop at the items on the list. Have them share the stories behind the gifts they listed—get to the why! You won’t regret the investment— it may make the top of your own list!