“Praise God every day by a cheerful joyful acceptance of His cross.” - Mary Virginia Merrick
At the start of November, with Thanksgiving on the way, I noticed many people on my social media pages listing something they were thankful for each day. This inspired me to re-read a book by Ann Voskamp called One Thousand Gifts. Longing to live more fully, the author embarks on a journey to write down 1000 little everyday things she is thankful for. This serves to help her be present in the moment, instead of dwelling on the difficulties of her past or worrying about the future.
Her book is filled with touching personal stories, Bible verses, and inspirational quotes that bring to life her quest to live with gratitude. The author muses to herself, “With an expiration of less than twelve hours, what does Jesus count as most important? 'And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them.' In the original language ‘he gives thanks’ reads eucharisteo, charis is grace, chara is joy." So, she concludes, "as long as thanksgiving is possible, then joy is also possible.” As much as I am tempted to jump from Halloween to full Christmas décor this year, this book reminds me to make space and time for Thanksgiving. “Eucharisteo – Thanksgiving – always precedes the miracle," says Ann Voskamp.
Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation set an annual date for a national celebration of Thanksgiving, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States…to set apart the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving... And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience…and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.” Wise words for today still.
Our founder Mary Virginia Merrick said, “I look back through the vista of years and my heart is full of gratitude for those good gifts of friendship, children, His creation that makes this world a place of beauty and of love in spite of the crosses that must mark the way of our earthly pilgrimage.” 2020 has been a year of challenges for all of us. I am thankful for the way
our chapter members have continued to find ways to fill the needs of children in their communities. Let us end 2020 in Eucharisteo, in Thanksgiving, even for our crosses, counting our blessings. I bet your list of gifts from God will reach one thousand too!
Yours in name of the Christ Child,
Mary Virginia Merrick, Pray for Us and the Children We Serve!