We all know that person who listens to Christmas music the day after Halloween.
I’ll pony up to it: I started listening to “Baby It’s Cold Outside” when it started snowing the other day. I’ve been known to dive into preparation for the mess that is Black Friday, and I’ve committed the heinous crime of setting up Christmas lights on November 1st. In the past, some people have claimed to even hear me call Thanksgiving the “Christmas Prelude.”
All that changed when I got married.
My wife was quick to turn off the Christmas radio and keep the decorations locked away. When I asked her what her prejudice was against Christmas, her answer was, “I love Christmas! I just think the turkey needs his day.”
As I’ve studied the words of living prophets, I’ve discovered too the power of gratitude and concluded for myself that the turkey does indeed deserve his day.
Power of Gratitude
Thanksgiving is more than a celebration of a full stomach. It’s the act of recognizing the power of gratitude.
Gratitude can be used as a tool to keep us humble and recognize the blessings of a loving Heavenly Father, but it can also give us the power to discover our place in the universe and help us achieve eternal life.
In a world where it is popular to be prideful about our works and belittle the works of others, it’s easy to lose ourselves to a competitive nature that does not acknowledge gratitude. This can damage our self-worth as we seek to glut ourselves on things that have no worth and prizes that do not fulfil. It can also distract us from the important things in life.
Gratitude to our Heavenly Father does the exact opposite. When we express gratitude to Heavenly Father, we acknowledge our imperfections and realize that any gifts we have received have come by His hand. We are thankful for the opportunity to be here on this earth and be a part of His eternal plan, which allows us to obtain a prize that is beyond anything we will experience in this life.
When we are thankful, we remember this plan and bring our focus back to the important things. In a talk given at BYU, Sister Sharon G. Samuelson said the following:
“The Lord does desire for us to be successful in our righteous endeavors — whether temporal or spiritual. There are many things of the world that are pleasing in his sight — such as gaining knowledge and wisdom as you study here — but one must never forget that the source of all these things is the Lord, and thus we should show him gratitude. Showing gratitude to the Lord helps us better see our worth in his sight.”
According to Sister Samuelson, when we show gratitude, we are reminded of who we are, where we come from and where we are going. When we understand our purpose, our future becomes clear and bright, and true happiness can be obtained.
Keeping the Spirit of Thanksgiving Year Long
Eventually, as we clear away the dishes and pat our bellies, it becomes appropriate to turn on the Christmas music.
When we do so, it’s important to not forget the blessings that Thanksgiving brings and how to keep those blessings year long. It could be as simple as beginning your prayers with a thankful heart or serving those who are less fortunate to you, but either way, continuing to show thanks to Heavenly Father is essential to our personal growth and happiness.