I know that the Christmas shopping mayhem has arrived and that advent begins tomorrow. Even so I wanted to squeeze in one more thought on Thanksgiving before November folds into December.
Like so many people I know, I have been soaking in Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. I have to drink it slowly, savoring one sip at a time. As Thanksgiving approached I wanted to share her art of thanksgiving, the naming of gifts, with my family.
Thanks to the inspiration from my friend Kari, my children and I went down to our favorite creek to hunt for a stick. We tromped over the footbridge and down to the rocks in search of a forgotten branch cut off from it’s tree and shed with the falling leaves.
We drug the biggest, barest stick we could find home and strung it up with twine in our dining room. It was ugly. It spread it’s brittle bare arms across our window, tapping it’s boney fingers on our panes.
Over the next few weeks, we experienced a reverse autumn. We wrote down each day’s gifts on paper leaves and attached them to the scraggly branches.
Even Jude would scribble with an “pun-shul” on the leaves and hand them over to his sister for translation.
As we poured out our thanksgiving praises the branches grew in richness. The naked, brittle branch filled with crimson and gold, bursting with stories of good things.
We could see how rich and full our lives are. There in our dining room the bounty of His blessings hung above us.
I am grateful that we as a people, diverse and spread across a vast land mark out one day to be give thanks. We pause in our collective business to reflect on the fullness of our lives and say, “thank you.” I am grateful that I believe in a God to whom I can direct those praises. And I’m grateful that in this act of thanksgiving I receive the double blessing of the gift and the knowledge that it was given.
With this simple act, with these simple means of wood, paper, and pencil we have watched how gratefulness transforms the barren into beautiful.