Last Thoughts: The Year of Living Like Jesus

Tonight, over sour cream-laden chimichangas and icy Cokes, my husband and I had our annual gift-giving budget conversation.  At our house, November and December are packed with several family birthdays and, of course, the simultaneously beloved and commercially vexing: Christmas.

We sat there looking at each other saying something like, “What are we going to get him?!”  We have this amount of money “to spend”, and all he wants is a flashlight and a pack of cheese.  And so we look at each other realizing that everyone in our lives has everything they need and at least 90% of what they want.

And yet, we insist that we “should” get them something.  It’s the thing to do, we suppose.  Could we make a donation to the “Human Fund?” Rather than relaxing down into the pool of gratitude, we stress upwards into obligation and wrack our brains for more, more, more.

In Ed Dobson’s The Year of Living Like Jesus, there is a lovely Jewish prayer taken from the Passover Seder that affected me deeply.  Especially as we enter a shopping extravaganza for some of the richest people on the planet, it is words like these that make me stop and think.

Pg. 97:

“Toward the end of the story came a beautiful section entitled dayenu, a word that means “that alone would have been enough, but for that alone we are grateful.

Adoni took us out of Egypt.  Dayenu.

Punished the Egyptians and destroyed their idols.  Dayenu.

Divided the sea and led us across on dry land.  Dayenu…

…[several more]…

For all these–alone and together–we say Dayenu.

Dayenu is a powerful concept.  It is learning to be grateful for what God has already done and not asking him to do more.  For me, as a follower of Jesus, it means being grateful for what God has done through Jesus Christ in restoring me to God.  Dayenu. It is getting up every day and realizing God has given me one more day to live.  Dayenu. In times of economic difficulty, it is realizing that I have food on my table and clothes on my back and a warm place to live.  Dayenu. It seems to me that Western Christians are always asking God for more–more money, better health, larger houses, better jobs, a boat.  I want I want I want I want.

Dayenu contradicts this kind of thinking.”


Regardless of your personal beliefs and convictions surrounding Jesus or Judaism or Christmas shopping, it seems to me that we could all use a little dayenu.

Some contentment.

Some gratitude.

Some joy.

A little peace.

I pray that for myself tonight, and for you.


If you are interested in what others are saying about Ed’s book, click here for a complete list of those participating in his November Blog Tour.

This entry was posted in Faith, Following Jesus, God, gratitude, Holidays, Literature/Books, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Last Thoughts: The Year of Living Like Jesus

  1. TCKK says:

    Very good thought. I need to remember this.

    Thanks for reading! Hope to see you back again 🙂

  2. Mary DY says:

    Thanks, Jane, for more good thoughts. A couple years ago at Christmas, we gave our boys money on Kiva. This organization makes micro-loans on your behalf in developing countries. Both boys went through and picked out their “customers” and have continued to loan out after the first loans were repaid. M

    Mary–I really really like this idea! I love the sustainability of micro-loans and also the idea of your boys choosing their customers. Similar in spirit, perhaps to letting younger kids pick out animals from Heifer International? What a cool experience for them–and *what a great mom* you are! Teaching the best lesson: love gives. Kudos 🙂

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