I have tried over the years to do a better job of giving thanks daily and living in gratitude. But like many of you I struggle. It would seem that I would have starts and stops, and then I would get excited about it again when a holiday like Thanksgiving rolled around to remind me about the importance of giving thanks.
But this is something that I know is important. The letters of Paul in the New Testament are filled with this idea of being thankful and giving thanks. I particularly like the Greek word for eucharist that Paul uses. The word means to literally give thanks and to be thankful (among other things), but also embedded in the word is the concept of grace coming from the Greek word charis (English translisteration/spelling). So eucharist is both an acknowledgment of what we are thankful for in the act of giving thanks, but it’s also a recognition of the grace of God in our lives. I think giving thanks and living in gratitude is about both….being thankful and experiencing the working out of God’s grace. Now it’s been 16 years since I studied Greek and the finer points of my Koine Greek scholarship may be a bit rusty…but I think this view of eucharist is really important to our lives.
About two years ago I noticed that most of the people I listened to on podcasts, and the books I was reading, and the videos I was watching…there was a common thread. And the common thread was the importance of a daily practice of being thankful and living in gratitude for all these people. What was even more interesting was that this practice was a common thread across all kinds of factor such as race, gender, faith/non-faith background, socioeconomic status, etc. Everyone I was coming across was talking about how important this practice was to their lives. In fact, it was such a huge factor that despite circumstances, being thankful and living in gratitude changed the trajectory of their day, and of their life.
This may seem like common sense, especially from someone who grew up in the Church around the tradition of eucharist (communion, Lord’s supper, etc.), and who is taught to give thanks in all circumstances. But knowing something and living it out are two different things. So this last January I asked for the Five Minute Journal for my birthday, and the beginning question in the journal is to name 3 things you are thankful for. This began my more disciplined practice this last year of daily looking to be thankful, living in gratitude, and experiencing the grace of God in my life.
In this episode I explore:
- the meaning of eucharist as both a giving of thanks and receiving of God’s grace.
- ways to practice giving thanks and being grateful.
- journaling our thankfulness; verbalizing our thankfulness; creating a thankfulness tree.
- something you can practice this week.
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Link to Episode 38
Resources Mentioned in this Episode