“Ann Voskamp has a desire to live her life beautifully. In ‘One Thousand Gifts,’ the author will introduce you to her fulfilling life of parenting, writing and working on a farm. As you read her insights and experiences, the book will allow you to reflect on your own life and explore your own spirituality.”
You can buy this book here (also available from other book shops)
Is it Christmassy? No, not really. Did I get it for Christmas? Yes. Should you read it? Yes. I was given this book a couple of years ago, and at first, I was put off by the flowery, poetic language. It’s definitely quite an acquired taste. Once I got used to that though, it was clear that the main message Ann is trying to put across is important, relevant, and possibly even life-changing.
The basic concept is the suggestion to start writing down one thousand things – no matter how small, that you are thankful for. Gradually, through the act of noticing all the gifts God is giving us every day, it starts to affect how we see life and how we behave. Ann started with the challenge of writing down 1000 gifts, but when she got to 1000 she didn’t want to stop, and it became a lifelong habit. Along the way, she learned that thanking God leads to ’joy’. I’m not a massive fan of the word ‘joy’, mainly because it isn’t a word I use every day, so I’d substitute ‘fulfilled’ or ‘satisfied’ because I think we know what those feel like. We also know that we aren’t experiencing them a lot of the time. Ann talks about the realisation that she had closed herself off to the possibility of really living life to the full because of old hurts in her life, but that where she saw no hope of change, the act of thanking God changed her. So she wrote a book about it.
Her keyword is ‘eucharisteo’ the greek word used in Luke 22:19, where it means “He gave thanks” (for the bread at the Last Supper). She also considers the similarities of this word with ‘charis’ (grace) and ‘chara’ (joy), bringing out the point that it is giving thanks to God for his grace that brings joy.
There is now a free online weekly Bible study linked to the book. It started on the 18th of November and includes a weekly video message, questions and suggested reading. There’s also the option to interact online (no thank you – I’m British 😏😆)
Rae Brindle, The Church of God in Manchester