The Language of Thanksgiving

Two weeks into the Beatitudes with my Sunday School class, and my ear is finally becoming accustomed to the cadence of another Kingdom, one in which those who are meek and mournful are pronounced fortunate — even happy.  All of this is a fitting backdrop for reading Joshua Choonmin Kang’s Spirituality of Gratitude.  His collection of fifty-two essays have been gleaned from his personal journal over the course of a season of suffering.  In that long, dark tunnel of a year, thanksgiving overflowed in the face of his isolation and endurance, in the wake of brokenness and vulnerability, and in the midst of thorny problems and the crumbling of dreams.

My response to Pastor Kang’s words was surprisingly visceral.  I needed to stop, to close my eyes, to agree in prayer with the words, and then to re-read the sentence before moving on.  I finished the book over the course of several days, but, truly, that is no way to read it.  Onto my nightstand it will go for another round of pondering, one essay at a time, one thought per week as a lexicon for the language of gratitude.  I need time to process this wisdom:

  • “True gratitude is being thankful for the situation we can’t be thankful for by our own strength.”
  • “Gratitude has the ability to connect people to God and to one another.  In fact, it has the power to build new bridges and to repair broken relationships, even those that seem irreparably damaged.”
  • “Gratitude is an expression of appreciation, an articulation of what we have received.  Like a receipt, our gratitude is evidence of the transaction of grace from God.”
  • “Let us remember that miracles can happen when we value little talents and exercise them faithfully.  With gratitude, let us live out the sublimity of the mundane.”
I have been challenged by Pastor Keng’s words to treasure and give thanks for the small things, for the ordinary miracles of cold drinking water and a chair in the sunshine.  I want to slow down for prayer and to stake out moments for pondering the latitude of suffering and the longitude of glory that exist in my every day.  A spirituality that is founded in gratitude is anchored securely by roots that have been sent deep into God’s love and will result in a life that reflects God’s “image with ever-increasing glory.”  (II Corinthians 3:18).

This book was provided by IVP Books, an imprint of InterVarsity Press, in exchange for my review.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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36 thoughts on “The Language of Thanksgiving”

  1. I find gratitude to be a most elusive quality. The times I most need it are the times it is naturally farthest from my mind. Thank you Michele for this reminder to choose gratitude in the small things to build our gratitude muscles for the hard things.


  2. Michele, I love the quotes you have shared. Writing this one down to remind me > “True gratitude is being thankful for the situation we can’t be thankful for by our own strength.”


  3. “Let us remember that miracles can happen when we value little talents and exercise them faithfully. With gratitude, let us live out the sublimity of the mundane.” Yes. Remembering. Thank-you. Little is much when God is in it, as the old chorus goes…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this idea! I keep a gratitude journal myself, and we have always done one for the whole family in the month of November, but I’ ve never tackled it every day with my kids. Great focus!


  4. Gratitude. Grace.
    That is what built my blog!
    I am thankful for Ann Voskamp and other authors like the one you mentioned that pick up on the beauty of noticing the graces and gifts we are given.
    I will check out the book you mentioned, and this is a good reminder to me that sometime I read too fast and need to put books back on my night stand for another re-read! Jenn

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I just made a thanksgiving prayer too, Michele.
    Thank you for this book review.
    I have heard so much of Ann’s book.
    Many of these books are not readily available in South Africa! I went by the bookshop yesterday but I could say there were no new books! My good friend runs another local bookshop but I have to place order before she can have them available and sometimes she never does. But she gets to read new books when I share mine like the “Unveiled Wife” book by Jennifer Smith.
    I get the privilege of reading via kindle and other times books are sent across.
    Personal Challenge is sometimes I want to hold the real book and not read off the PC or Tablet only!
    Hugs friend.
    Blessings to you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad to have a friend in another part of the world where the things that I take for granted are truly luxuries. And although a Kindle is a wonderful thing, sometimes there’s nothing like a real book. I agree completely.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “my ear is finally becoming accustomed to the cadence of another Kingdom”
    Beautifully said, Michele. It’s not first nature to us, this new kingdom talk. But it’s a language we can grow accustomed to and learn to love. Its reality, albeit invisible, is the truest of all.


  7. Some books cannot be read straight through – there must be time for pondering each section. I like that you persevered when it was tough to read!

    Gratitude helps my attitude, I’ve found. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thankfulness in all situations…. we all need to do that more often. We are thankful for the “big” things, but even the small things. Or even today, I saw it at the funeral of a 21-year old that had battled ovarian cancer since age 18… they were thankful she was tested and became an advocate for screenings.
    Thanks for sharing with #What to Read Wednesday. Hope to see you back again next week.


  9. sounds wonderful and worth reading and gifting. thanks, michele (and thanks for your comment on She Loves! now I need to remember how I submitted that and try again next year!)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks for sharing this book review at The Loft, Michelle. We all need to learn about cultivating gratitude when going through hard times. It’s a given those times will happen!

    Liked by 1 person

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