10 Talks to Get You PUMPED for Thanksgiving

thanksgiving gratitude thankful

To be completely honest, I don’t really need a lot of help getting pumped for Thanksgiving — just the words “stuffing” and “pumpkin pie” send little shivers of excitement up my spine. My dreams are filled with visions of buttery rolls, candied sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce. Stretchy pants, here I come!

Okay, but the actual thanksgiving part of Thanksgiving? Clearly, I could use a little help in that department.

So in order to get myself in the Thanksgiving mindset, I’ve compiled a list of ten talks that help me (and hopefully you, too! And U2, if they’re reading this…) to focus on what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving season — and to recognize the blessings that I have all year round.

1. “Gratitude: A Path to Happiness” by Bonnie D. Parkin

Talk snippet: “Gratitude requires awareness and effort, not only to feel it but to express it. Frequently we are oblivious to the Lord’s hand. We murmur, complain, resist, criticize; so often we are not grateful. In the Book of Mormon, we learn that those who murmur do not know ‘the dealings of that God who … created them.'”

Read it here.

2. “The Divine Gift of Gratitude” by Thomas S. Monson

Talk Snippet: “Regardless of our circumstances, each of us has much for which to be grateful if we will but pause and contemplate our blessings.

This is a wonderful time to be on earth. While there is much that is wrong in the world today, there are many things that are right and good. There are marriages that make it, parents who love their children and sacrifice for them, friends who care about us and help us, teachers who teach. Our lives are blessed in countless ways.

We can lift ourselves and others as well when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that ‘gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.'”

Read it here.

3. “Gratitude for the Goodness of God” by Robert D. Hales

Talk Snippet: “Gratitude expressed to our Heavenly Father in prayer for what we have brings a calming peace—a peace which allows us to not canker our souls for what we don’t have. Gratitude brings a peace that helps us overcome the pain of adversity and failure. Gratitude on a daily basis means we express appreciation for what we have now without qualification for what we had in the past or desire in the future. A recognition of and appreciation for our gifts and talents which have been given also allows us to acknowledge the need for help and assistance from the gifts and talents possessed by others.”

Read it here.

4. “Grateful in Any Circumstances” by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Talk Snippet: “Perhaps focusing on what we are grateful for is the wrong approach. It is difficult to develop a spirit of gratitude if our thankfulness is only proportional to the number of blessings we can count. True, it is important to frequently “count our blessings”—and anyone who has tried this knows there are many—but I don’t believe the Lord expects us to be less thankful in times of trial than in times of abundance and ease. In fact, most of the scriptural references do not speak of gratitude for things but rather suggest an overall spirit or attitude of gratitude.”

Read it here.

5. “As Doves to Our Windows” by Jeffrey R. Holland

Talk Snippet: “We are still being blessed by that love from God and by the faithfulness of our spiritual and literal progenitors down through a thousand generations. May we do as much with the blessings we have been given as they did out of the deprivations so many of them faced. In such abundance may we never “forget the Lord” nor “go after other gods,” but always be “an holy people unto the Lord.” If we do so, those that hunger and thirst for the word of the Lord will continue to come “as doves to [our] windows.” They will come seeking peace and growth and salvation. If we live our religion they will find all of that and more. . . We are a blessed people. In such a marvelous time as this, I feel an overwhelming debt of gratitude.”

Read it here.

6. “The Empowerment of Humility” by Richard C. Edgley

Talk Snippet: “As I have pondered these faithful members, I am struck by two qualities they all seem to have. First, regardless of social or economic status or position, their humility leads to submissiveness to the Lord’s will. And second, in spite of the difficulties and trials of life, they are able to maintain a sense of gratitude for God’s blessings and life’s goodness. Humility and gratitude are truly the twin characteristics of happiness.”

Read it here.

7. “Give Thanks in All Things” by Dallin H. Oaks

Talk Snippet: “When we give thanks in all things, we see hardships and adversities in the context of the purpose of life. We are sent here to be tested. There must be opposition in all things. We are meant to learn and grow through that opposition, through meeting our challenges, and through teaching others to do the same.”

Read it here.

8. “Thanks Be to God” by Russell M. Nelson

Talk Snippet: “How much better it would be if all could be more aware of God’s providence and love and express that gratitude to Him. Ammon taught, “Let us give thanks to [God], for he doth work righteousness forever.” Our degree of gratitude is a measure of our love for Him.”

Read it here.

9. “Remembrance and Gratitude” by Henry B. Eyring

Talk Snippet: “You could have an experience with the gift of the Holy Ghost today. You could begin a private prayer with thanks. You could start to count your blessings, and then pause for a moment. If you exercise faith, and with the gift of the Holy Ghost, you will find that memories of other blessings will flood into your mind. If you begin to express gratitude for each of them, your prayer may take a little longer than usual. Remembrance will come. And so will gratitude.”

Read it here.

10. “The Heart of the Widow” by O. Vincent Haleck

Talk Snippet: “Let us join as worldwide Saints in doing that which is necessary to have the widow’s heart, truly rejoicing in the blessings that will fill the “want” that results. My prayer for each of us is a plea to have the heart to bear our burdens, make necessary sacrifices, and have the will to do and to give. I promise that the Lord will not leave you wanting. The heart of the widow is filled with thanksgiving that the Savior was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” so that we would not need to taste the “bitter cup.””

Read it here.

As I’ve read numerous talks on gratitude and having a spirit of thanksgiving, one thing has stood out to me: regardless of our circumstances, we can find joy in each day. Whether you’re rich or poor, young or old, healthy or ill, etc. — you can find peace and joy. Our happiness is not dependent on our circumstances, and no matter how frustrated we feel at different times in our lives, we can always find something to be grateful for.

This Thanksgiving, consider what you have instead of what you don’t have. Remember the kindness others have shown you rather than reflecting on the times people have been harsh. Above all, remember that we have a Savior who atoned for us, facing more darkness and pain than we will ever comprehend — and that He, in spite of mockery and scorn and trials, was filled with gratitude.

No matter what, we can express thanks to our Father in Heaven for all that we do have and forget about what we don’t. After all, isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?