Thinking Grace

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Through Jesus, therefore,let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise — the fruit of lips that openly profess His name. — Hebrews 13:15

When the rope pulls tight, Levi holds on — and it looks like happy wonder might right split him.

The kid, he’s all snow-caked — all celebration.

He’s making me grin. Life could be like that — giving way to the celebration of fully living.

He’s making me the child — the laughter falling like snow and his cheeks all red, winter and wonder right in him, and his father winks at me and I lay on the snow and this moment right here, it warms right through.

Who can’t laugh with him, this sledding straight to the sheer edge? He does go down more than once or twice.
I wait for tears.
And I’m the fool not knowing what it’s all about. It’s there in his eyes: the thrill is in the trying what doesn’t seem possible.
Isn’t that always the place where fear meets faith and the face of God?

The snow’s bluing in twilight. The dog’s panting happy. The boy’s all full of life, wonder-filled.

The sun is doing its own sliding down. I try to memorize all this wonderful — the faith and the falls and the fully living.

Robert Frost is right: “An hour of winter day might seem too short.”1 And there are Eden days—days you want the boy to stay freckled and laughing loud and the light to linger longer and the dog to keep running you young.

It’s not trite, this waking to wonder, giving thanks for all this. Thanks isn’t shallow Pollyanna-ism. Didn’t Chesterton suggest that? “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”2
And I wonder if this is why thanks is the highest form of thought — because this is always the right order of things: Us laid low. Before God on High.

Isn’t this what’s partly awry in the world? The world needs fewer complaints and more thanks — those engaged in the highest thoughts.

The world needs more men and women living thanks, thinking loftiest.

Why would we ever tire of bending low in thanking — thanking — this highest form of thinking?

This is what all the great artists and thinkers do — they stay awake to the wonder of God’s world.

Great thinkers are the grateful thankers — the real greats live gratefully.

And is this the art of life — to keep awake to the wonders in His Word and this world? Isn’t it wonder that sparks love?

Levi swings round on his sled, chasing joy, that thing that swings open everything.

He yells at me as he flies by. “Isn’t this great?”
And I smile thanks for the wonder of here. Thanks, that thing that makes you the child full of wonder, the great thinker, the kingdom of heaven belonging to those who are like the children.

And the trees at sunset, they’re lit aflame right down there in the woods.

Father God, make me never tire of the highest form of thinking — thanking. Make today great — by causing me to think gratefully. Engage me in the highest thoughts — gratefully laid low before You.

1 Robert Frost, “A Winter Eden,” www.portitude.org/literature/frost/pt-winter_eden.php (accessed July 10, 2012).

2 Gilbert Keith Chesterton, A Short History of England (Teddington, Middlesex, UK: Echo Library, 2008), 30.

Excerpted with permission from One Thousand Gift Devotional by Ann Voskamp, copyright Zondervan.

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Your Turn

Here’s a thought-provoking question: How much time do we spend in grateful awe of how incredible God is? Of how astonishing this beautiful world He created is? Of how much we have to be thankful for? Today, let’s settle for a moment and dwell on the wonder in gratitude! Come share your thoughts and thanks on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp is the wife of one fine, down-to-earth farmer; a book-reading mama to a posse of seven; and the author of the New York Times bestsellers One Thousand Gifts, which has sold more than one million copies, and The Broken Way. Named by Christianity Today as one of fifty women most shaping culture and the church today, Ann knows unspoken brokenness and big country skies and an intimacy with God that touches wounded places. Millions do life with her at her daily photographic online journal, one of the top 10 most widely read Christian sites: www.annvoskamp.com

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