Thanksgiving Day Joys: Gan En and Gan Xie

Thanksgiving Turkeys copyHappy Thanksgiving Day to you! May your day be deeply refreshing and filled with joy as you consider all the blessings in your life! I’m also praying that your life is filled with gan en and gan xie! (Do you trust me enough to be glad?!)

I have a lovely young friend named Shelly who has given her life to serve in China as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. She mentioned in a letter recently that the Chinese have two words for gratefulness: Gan en, which expresses the deep thankfulness we have for the foundational positives of our existence, and gan xie, which expresses thankfulness for the small, transitory kindnesses we experience day by day.

As I thank God for all the blessings that are a part of my life this morning, I want to remember both the gan en and the gan xie. The gan en of my life includes peace that the God of this universe is in his very essence GOOD…that the most powerful force is positive, not negative, and that this God loved me so much that He sent his son to die for me (and you, and the entire world), so that by accepting Him as our savior we can receive eternal life. That is foundational to my experience of love, joy, and peace, and it’s all I really need. Beyond that, I could also go on forever, but those two facts: that God is good, and that He has provided for our eternal well being, are enough gan en to hold me. Duck splashing down on our lakeThe gan xie are not so obvious, but they are the little sparks of joy that brighten our days. For me, that includes such simple things as hearing the song of a bird (or even better, the voice of one of my kids on the phone 🙂 ), or watching a duck splash down on our lake… feeling a kind touch or smelling the scent of pine on a warm waft of breeze. Simple joys that sometimes only last a moment, but they lift my spirit on even the greyest days.

How about you? What are some of the gan en and gan xie of your life? I’d love to hear about them, but most of all I’d love to have you join me this Thanksgiving in praising God, from whom all blessings flow.

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalm 107:1)