I think that there are many different ways that we can find and choose this joy that we talk about. One of these ways I am confident is by giving thanks in all circumstances, each and every day, over and over again, even when it's hard. The first time thanksgiving is mentioned in scripture is in Leviticus 7:11-13, "And this is the law of the sacrifice of peace offerings that one may offer to the Lord. If he offers it for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the thanksgiving sacrifice unleavened loaves mixed with oil....." We receive the peace of God when we are thankful. When we can count the ways that He loves us, and the gifts that He gives us, our joy will begin to explode. You see the greek word for thanksgiving is "eucharisto" (Luke 22:19). The root word is "charis" which means grace, a gift. We then look at the derivative of the word "charis" which is "chara" and we find that it means joy. Joy is found in eucharisto - in thanksgiving. Ann Voskamp said, "as long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible."
And so what would it look like to start living out thanksgiving each and everyday? What if we started thanking God for the little things each day? What if we really started paying attention to the details of our day? What if we started thanking God for the hard things, trusting that He is using those moments to help us experience more of Him and as a part of the beautiful stories that He is writing in each of our lives?
You know the world is seeing that thanksgiving works. Statistics show that living out of thanksgiving makes people 25% more happier. Studies have shown that people who keep gratitude lists are more likely to have progress with personal goals, have better attitudes, and have more energy.
In the blog post prior to this and hanging on the Awake Youth Bulletin Board at church, I have put up a guide for the month of November to help us recognize things to be thankful for. Use this if you want or start a list of your own counting gifts each day. I will continue to post a guide each month. Let's choose joy today by living out thanksgiving each and every day.