One of my favourite Christmas presents this year was Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts, given to me courtesy of my oldest sister and her family. I have to admit, I knew in advance that she was getting it for me for Christmas and when it arrived, it was really hard to wrap it and put it under the tree instead of starting in on it immediately. But I did. And began reading it on Christmas day while Little Man played with his new toys and the hubs investigated his stack of Christmas reading.
Let me just say: One Thousand Gifts is possibly the best book I read in 2011 (though technically I finished it in 2012). It was both encouraging and challenging, and the fact that it is still impacting the way I think and pray two months later (when I finally found the time to blog about it) says something. In it, Voskamp explores the theological ramifications of "eucharisteo" from which we get the word "eucharist" or communion. "Eucharisteo", which is built from the words "charis" (grace) and "chara" (joy), is the act of giving thanks. Essentially, Voskamp shares her personal journey as she strives to find joy in the daily purposeful giving of thanks for the many graces God gives. The struggle, though, is to see the grace of God even in the suffering of the world. It is a hard lesson to learn. But one worth learning.
Consequently, I am now trying to count my own one thousand gifts as I seek to see the hand of God in the day to day. I'm closing in on 300 that I've actually written down (many more that I've counted during the day when my hands are full of newborn baby instead of a pen and paper). I want to see God's grace in the sleepless nights, in the hundreds of poopy diapers, in the tantrums of a two year old whose world has gotten turned upside down (even if he adores his little brother). I'm learning, but the progress is slow.
And on that note, my blogging time has run out. Read the book. It's worth it.