This year, I did something I’ve longed to do for years: I teamed up with some writer-friends on a creative project. We each tried a new form of prose or poetry to meditate on what it means to give thanks, thanksgiving as a form of worship, and how to give thanks in a time of suffering.
I and a few others wrote poems, which I’ll post tomorrow. One friend, Bethany J. Melton, wrote this beautiful essay connecting thanksgiving with awareness:
Taste, Savor, Spill Your Thanksgiving
There are too many blank pages in my thanksgiving journal. I forget, get lazy, stop searching for the beauty God ladles across my world. And I don’t give thanks.
It’s a fight. And recognizing the blessings is half the battle, because I won’t offer thanks until I’ve tasted them. I can’t savor something until I’ve sampled it.
Today I leafed through that journal and it’s marvelous how those months-ago lists recall lovely little moments. Like these:
Laughter at midnight
Soil under my nails
New book smell
Music that matches the rhythm of my run
Soup + coffee
Nephews and leaf piles
Fishing at dusk
They’re things I’d have missed without a pencil behind my ear and tongue poking out.
It’s true we aren’t thankful enough, and maybe it’s because we’re discontent or despairing. But I’d venture to guess that most often, it’s because our head is down and our tongue tucked away. Eyes on our screen, face in the mirror, with no appetite to the planet whirling around us.
It’s a recipe for a bland life. Which might be the opposite of thanksgiving.
Think: You start sensing the enchantment of God’s world and it tints those things with flavor. When you’re hungry, you’re likely to find something. You’re likely to sample at something. You’ll probably savor it and give thanks for it.
All it takes is undivided awareness.
Teach me your way, LORD, and I will live by your truth. Give me an undivided mind to fear your name (Ps. 86:11, CSB).
David’s life would be contrived and hollow if his mind wasn’t tuned—if his taste buds weren’t trained to savor God’s glorious goodness. So he prayed.
And God gave him an appetite for His blessings that spilled into thanksgiving.
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! (Ps. 34:8a)
My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips… (Ps. 65:5-6).
I will give thanks to you, O LORD my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever (Ps. 86:12).
Why not us? Why not pray to taste? Why not pray to savor, then spill our thanks to God?
I can fish at dusk and enjoy myself without offering praise to the Maker of ripples and carp and sunsets. It’s when I ask for an appetite and let creation’s wonders fall on my tongue that a reflex is triggered. The floodgates are unhinged.
I taste. I savor. And gratitude spills.
My journal pages are where the flood finds an outlet—where thankfulness pools. The pages won’t fill themselves. I have to ask for taste buds to relish those good and lovely things before I can scratch them down.
And here’s the funny thing: One thanksgiving leads to another. I write New books then Written prayers then The Valley of Vision then Conviction of sin and the washing of regeneration through Jesus’s blood.
Tasting prompts me to savor Jesus’s beauty. And my journal pages begin to brim.
To read more of Bethany’s writing, visit her blog at https://bethanyjsjournal.blog/.