The whole concept of picking New Year’s resolutions centers around achieving greater happiness. Some goals focus on a better you: a thinner, smarter, more generous you. Other goals target a better life for you: a better job, more money, a new relationship, new scenery. Usually all of these goals include a lot of doing…working out, budgeting, interviewing for jobs, dating, dieting. I feel drained just from typing this. All of these things imply responsibility and the pressure of succeeding is on no one but yourself. No wonder most people burnout before reaching their goals!
What if I found out a way to achieve greater happiness but took the pressure off of myself, so that the focus wasn’t on what I have to do, but what God has already done? Perhaps the secret to happiness is contentment. And contentment is nothing more than a by-product of gratitude, so why not start there on my journey to greater happiness? Have you ever expressed or felt thankfulness and then immediately experienced a feeling of being “full” or fulfilled? Isn’t that what everyone really wants out of life anyway?
Amidst all of my thinking, goal-setting and dreaming, my brain kept stumbling over the ideas of thankfulness and our daily bread. In Sunday communion I thought about how the act of taking the bread and the cup was such a contrived moment. Our church orchestrates this moment of remembrance and gratitude on a monthly basis, everything is laid out and everyone files down the aisles, eats, drinks, and returns to their seats. This act that we call the “eucharist” was originally a dinner between Jesus and his most trusted friends. They broke bread by sharing a meal – something most of us do three times a day. It struck me that our prayers over dinner plates can be so much more that a perfunctory tradition. It can be a daily eucharist. (Eucharist in the Greek means “thanksgiving”). Ordinary food, ordinary drink, ordinary house, extraordinary thanks for what Christ has done on the cross. Who knew that something that was taught to me as a child, now has the potential to revolutionize my life and bear the fruit of contentment and happiness if done correctly?