Why ThanksGiving & ThanksLiving is Radically Subversive: {and Everything You Need to Have the Best Thanksgiving & Holidays Yet}

Mama can kick leaves in the woods like she’s tearing back the crumpled paper wrapped over the surface of things.

She walks with a stick.

She dragged it out from under some maple saplings. And then she pins that trail under her right down.

Like there’s no loud and flippant way she’s letting anything make her miss the now right under her, no way that that now could just up and slip out from under her.

You could be a sophisticated cynic and miss your whole life that way.

You walk a bold, amazed way when you know the destination is right here.




What had Mary Oliver defiantly scratched down with an inked stick of her own?

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement.”

Everyone’s wild to stop feeling overwhelmed – but nobody ever wants everything to stop and be over.

Mama walks like that through the woods. Like she knows it’s going to be over someday… all over.

And then there’ll be that stark moment when you turn and see what you were married to. You can live your life as the bride married to Hurry, having affairs with Not Enough, Always Stress, and Easy Cynicism. Yeah, I guess we all get to choose our own bedfellows.

Mama’s standing there, already decided.

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life I was a bride married to amazement, vowed to Awe Himself, covenanted to Christand I took the whole of everything He gave in this gloried world into my open arms with thanks.

Because really? Yeah, I guess so — Anybody can be a cynic. Cynicism is laziness in every way.

The real heroes are the ones who never stop looking for the possibility of joy. The brilliant are always the one who look for the light. 

“Here is good. I think we should do it right here.” Mama taps the ground of the trail with her stick, holding here down. Here always has some good if you look at it long enough.

“Good light.” Mama looks up.

So that’s where Levi and I drag the tables to. Haul in stumps to stand in as legs for plank benches. Throw old quilts down as tablcloths and lay out the plates.

“Are we crazy?” I tug at the end of one of the quilts. Mama raises her one eyebrow — “I mean, not in a general, yes, obviously-we-are-crazy sense — but in a specifically in a trying- to- have- a- Thanksgiving-dinner in- the- woods- sense?”

Mama grins. Winks. Knowingly.

Yeah – she doesn’t have to say it.

Wherever you are – Thanksgiving is always for those crazy enough to see grace for the trees.

Thanksgiving is always for the courageous and Grace is always for the risky.

We lay out the table and string up the banners and make up our Thanksgiving Tree  —-

And it’s all ridiculous enough to be meant to be






























It’s like the unlikely feast in the middle of the trees is the unexpected that is right.

There’s Mama and the kids and the Farmer and cousins and aunts and uncles and a Thanksgiving in the woods, in the coming dark and the cooling light, and this feels subversive and it feels right.

Because the shock of it is:

Grace is never passive. Grace is a hijacker. 

Grace hijacks the dark, the impossible, the unlikely, the angry, the cynics, the doomed.

Your calling is radically this: Gloriously hijack every darkness with grace.

To love mercy and do justice and follow Christ means to be The Revolutionary Guerillas of Grace — radically turning the fallen world Upside Down.

And if grace is a hijacker of the darkthen it makes sense to give thanks in the most unlikely places. 

Mama serves up pumpkin pie under a beech tree. Men eat the last of the turkey under the ancient limbs of oaks.

I look at them all and I love them for this.










Sure, why not get really subversive with this giving thanks and giving it forward and go hard after the dark this month 

Thanksgiving is more than a holiday — it’s meant to be all our days. 

And when Thanksgiving become ThanksLiving — we not only give thanks for the gifts in our life — we want to become a gift in other people’s lives.

Nothing is more powerful in than the word than Giving.

For God so loved the world — that He did what?

For God so love the world that He gave . . .

Thanksgiving. Forgiving. Care-giving.

Giving It Forward Today — being the GIFT. Living broken and given.


Everything that matters in living comes down to giving.

learning the art of living is learning the art of giving.

The art of really living, of giving, is believing there is enough Love in you, that you are Loved enough by Him, to be made enough love to give.”

~ The Broken Way, A Daring Path to the Abundant Life 

Could there be anything more powerful than this:

Giving thanks — and then giving it forwardliving broken and given, into the abundant life. 

These two beats of the Father’s heart has what forever changed my heart.

That’s what’s happening here:  Daily Doxology is how to Detox your soul. And daily being broken & given like bread, living given like a gift, gives your soul joy.

It’s always dark or doxology — (and yeah, amazing grace — we get to decide.)

It’s always being givenness that breaks brokenness. 

It feels subversive and radical and — like hijacking the dark.

Yeah, maybe that’s it — a Personal Revolution of Counting Gifts and then being the Gift  — that turns everything around.

There are always the quiet revolutionaries who give thanks for grace in the unexpected — and then are grace to others in unexpected ways.

There are always the real revolutionaries who know this overthrows all the pressing dark.

There are, even now, the revolutionaries who know salvation is no cheap gift; they know what they were saved for. They choose to give glory with the breaths given — and then live given into His glory.  They choose to be the gift, broken and givenThey choose to be married to amazement because only amazing grace divorces souls from the dark.

The kids are lit in the last light, like their hair has been caught on glory.

The way they laugh and it rises and nothing can hold it down. Mama walking through the leaves sounds like the rustling open, the unwrapping of gifts.

I can’t take my eyes off those three kids with their backs pressed up against the bark of a Tree.

The way grace hijacks all these shadows even now.


Start your Own Personal Revolution this Holiday Season: 

1. Count Gifts — all through the holidays, counting blessings, count gifts, 3 a day. 

2. Make your own: The Thanks Giving Tree {Free Printable}

1. Print out The Thanks Giving Tree (Spanish Edition here)

2. Cut out all of the leaves. Hole punch each leaf. Slip a string through each hole. Hang the leaves on a bouquet of branches in a container of your choice.

3. Reflect on its verse and make the verse your prayer of thanksgiving back to God. Then jot down one gift you are grateful to God for on the back of the leaf.

Make giving thanks a daily habit — and daily wear joy! 

4. Be the GIFT throughout the holidays. Pick up a copy of The Broken Way and print out the daily GIFT list — and not only count gifts but this holiday season, feel the joy of being the GIFT — being broken and given like bread and giving it forward today.

5. We’d love to see you counting gifts and being the gift? Share how you are counting gifts with your Thanksgiving Tree or ways you are being the GIFT with the GIFT list?  Share with us on Twitter? Instagram? (@annvoskamp #BetheGIFT #1000gifts) or over in our Facebook community?

Download your Thanks Giving Tree & GIFT calendar here:



CBA Christian Retailing Review:
Written in an amazingly touching style, this book will resonate with those who know pain

It is as though Voskamp has captured and bottled the song of the hurting and gives them hope. 

The Broken Way is emotional, tender, and filled with good news

Passionate and Powerful.” ~ CBA Christian Retailing Review