Eucharisteo… like wine on my lips, it lingers. The first taste dances with tip toes on the heart, trailing grace. Drink it in. It grows bolder as it flows free, lighting corners of the soul long darkened. Eyes water from the richness of it. I feel what the Psalmist wrote: taste and see that the Lord is good. This is more than knowing, eucharisteo commands the senses. Tannins of mercy, full and bold. Finish round with joy.

My mother gave me a book for Christmas. (She does know her audience.) Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts is one of the few books that, unfinished, I already cannot wait to read again. I don’t often read books more than once or twice but this one will live, love worn, for years on my bedside table. I won’t reduce this soul opener to a sound byte for the sake of brevity, I’ll just tell you to read it.

In this book, Voskamp unwraps the word eucharisteo like it’s a delicate morsel of the darkest chocolate. I have fallen in love with this word. I mean, really in love. I love it so much I had it tattooed on my arm. I say it over and over again, rolling it around in my mouth to send its flavor into every crevice. This word has messed me up in the best way. Eucharisteo is Greek, and means “to give thanks.” It contains the root charis, which is like our word for “grace, and also “chara”, which means “joy”. What we all seek, what we ache to feel, what we spend lifetimes striving to grasp… joy. It is contained within thanksgiving. It lives with grace. Gratitude must come first, and then the joy is born. Holy joy does not exist in word or application outside of thanksgiving. Eucharisteo is used over and over in Scripture before the miracles come. Indeed, it is the word Christ used before He broke bread at the Last Supper, hence the sacrament of The Holy Eucharist. This holy, poetic trinity… grace, thanksgiving, joy… is rocking my world.

Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy.”

I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 5:20). And I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, ‘I’m thankful for everything.’ But… I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life… Life changing gratitude does not fasten to a life unless nailed through with one very specific nail at a time. Little nails and a steady hammer can rebuild a life- eucharisteo precedes the miracle.”

So, I’m practicing eucharisteo and eucharisteo gives birth to days fat with joy. Today was a eucharisteo joy-filled day. Eucharisteo means not only to be thankful for everything, but to be thankful for every thing. I’m keeping a list. Some of today’s little nuggets of thanksgiving: Lunch on a quiet, sunny patio// Surprise! Favorite song plays overhead// Windows rolled down, tires on gravel sound// Ronnie Meek on podcast to bring home to the road// Crisp greens and fluffy quiche// Old man, bent halfway, walks regal with cane// Psalm 34:8// Desert driving, wind whipping, sun beaming// fat baby smiling//

Every. Single. Thing.

Driving nails of thanksgiving into my laziness, my busy-ness, my fast moving pride. Eucharisteo fills my heart and it grows, a little. Eucharisteo thoughts are precise and burst wide open with grace. You know what I’m not thinking about when I’m driving the eucharisteo nails? I’m not thinking about: Muffin tops, bad hair day, not enough money, too much to do and not enough time, Facebook comment quota, too much dairy and not enough green today, me, me, me… Eucharisteo precision, over and over and over, drives gratitude right through my pride and I grow huge with joy.

I love this word. I love this way of doing life.

I’ll leave you with more from Ann: “Why would the world need more anger, more outrage? How does it save the world to reject unabashed joy when it is joy that saves us? Rejecting joy to stand in solidarity with the suffering doesn’t rescue the suffering. The converse does. The brave who focus on all things good and all things beautiful and all things true, even in the small, who give thanks for it and discover joy even in the here and now, they are the change agents who bring fullest Light to all the world. When we lay the soil of our hard lives open to the rain of grace and let joy penetrate our cracked and dry places, let joy soak into our broken skin and deep crevices, life grows. How can this not be the best thing for the world? For us? The clouds open when we mouth thanks.”

Let it rain.

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