A few years ago I came across a book written by Ann Voskamp, a Canadian farmer’s wife. It’s entitled “A Thousand Gifts,” and one of the best books I have read. Voskamp is not just from Canada, she is from Saskatchewan, rural Saskatchewan. Have you ever been there?
I haven’t, but by her description, it’s cold, lonely, and isolated. Being a stay-at-home mum in an isolated area, Ann found herself discouraged to the point of depression.
One day, as she was reading her Bible, it struck her that twelve hours before Jesus went to the cross, He was giving thanks for something as simple as bread.
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it…” Luke 22,19.
Ann decided to defeat her feelings of hopelessness and isolation by starting a discipline of giving thanks. Her goal was to list 1000 things she was thankful for. She started noticing, then thanking God, for small wonders:
Morning shadows across the floor.
Jam piled high on toast.
The cry of a blue jay in the spruce.
By the time she got to a thousand, she didn’t want to stop. She had been changed by the deliberate practice of thanksgiving. She let the passages from the Bible such as this one flow over her each day as she read them out loud:
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped, therefore my heart celebrates, and I give thanks to him with my song.” Psalm 28,7
Today, much happier and healthier, the first thing she does every morning is thank God, out loud, for three things. She starts by thanking Him for watching over her. Then she thanks Him for her family. Then she adds one more thing. This third thing is different every day. What one thing are you particularly thankful for at this moment? I wonder if during Lent this year, instead of giving up chocolate, we could make a resolve to do something positive, for example try to spend the next 30 days looking at our lockdown life through a prism of gratitude.
Wishing you every blessing,