Eucharisteo? Does that sound like Greek to you? Well, no wonder. It is Greek! And it’s my favorite new word for the year, first encountered in Ann Voscamp’s One Thousand Gifts, an engaging and energetic invitation to find joy by embracing everyday life with gratitude for God’s gifts of grace.

I’m fascinated by the beauty of the word as well as its meaning. Eucharisteo is used 37 times in the New Testament and is translated “thank” or “giving thanks” in English. That alone makes it appropriate to connect with Christmas in a year when Thanksgiving and Christmas nearly bump into each other.

But eucharisteo encompasses so much more. It grows out of the root word, charis, which means grace, and leads to chara, a spinoff from charis which means joy. Gratitude, grace and joy? What rich gifts!

I adopted Ann’s challenge to watch for and write down God’s simple gifts of grace. I’m up to 727 journal entries of simple blessings like morning dewdrops, Nathaniel’s two-year-old sparkle, and a serendipitous rendezvous with a friend whose photography-loving niece moved to town just when I was looking for a photographer for my parents’ 70th anniversary party. What priceless gifts that require neither ribbons nor dusting!

Our increasingly materialist society, however, substitutes consumer spending as the bottom line by which to measure the success of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Work and family demands in our fast-paced, instant internet world also rush and stress us, leaving us devoid of eucharisteo.

Those who lived in Bethlehem two thousand years ago had none of the modern conveniences that both simplify and complicate our lives. We may think that eucharisteo was easier for them, but they also faced frustrations and complications. Especially during the census that required them to return to the town of their birth. No airplanes. No trains. No cars. No way to call ahead for reservations. No room for Mary and Joseph after their long journey even though Mary was about to give birth to the Son of God.

It’s easy to look back at that incredible night and Tsk! Tsk! the people who failed to recognize the miracle taking place in their midst. But what if we had been there? Would we have realized what was happening?

1 Corinthians 10:11 tells us that the events in Scripture serve as examples to help us live wisely. AlphaStar Drama offers drama sketches that invite you to get to know the characters of Christmas. To slip into their skins and see life as they did. To experience their fears and perplexities and to wake up to the ways God worked in their lives and wants to work in ours.

Awareness. Fresh insights. A new alertness to God. Are they not steps toward experiencing eucharisteo?

Enjoy the scripts. Share them with others. And let me know if they add eucharisteo–gratitude, grace, and joy– to your Christmas celebration. That would be an eucharisteo entry for me!

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