Thanksgiving can fill us spiritually, emotionally, and mentally as well as physically if we will cultivate the spirit of thanksgiving. The spirit of thanksgiving is to “Live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you” (Alma 34:38).
Thanksgiving Day marks the beginning of what has been called the “the big holiday trilogy “– Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. By celebrating this holiday trilogy appropriately, we can be better prepared to receive the “renewal of Easter."
Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for our many blessings. It is a time to look forward to spending time with family and special friends. It is a wonderful excuse to gather together and remind ourselves that our families are the foundation upon which we build our lives. Our families are what enable us to be the very best version of ourselves. We should give thanks for our families for they truly are the foundation of our lives.
Christmas is a time of love. Heavenly Father loves His children so much that He sent His Beloved Son to earth on a mission to save all of His other children. Jesus Christ accepted and fulfilled that mission because of His love for His Father and for all of us. We celebrate the birth of the Son because we love Him and because we love the Father. We give gifts to our family members and friends because we love them. Christmas is a gift of redemption, a gift that can transform us. It is a wonderful present given to all mankind. Once we open the gift, we can better understand how our lives can be truly fulfilling and rich.
New Year’s Day is a holiday that is often meant to end the Christmas season. It marks the time when children go back to school, adult children leave for college, and family members return to their own homes and lives. It is also an excellent time to set goals for self-improvement. It is truly a clean page in our lives. It gives us a fresh start and a new beginning with endless possibilities.
Easter is a time when we celebrate the Atonement and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we make family the foundation of our lives, learn to love others as God loves us, and learn to use the new year as an opportunity to improve, we are better prepared to truly celebrate Easter.
This wonderful experience begins with Thanksgiving Day and the true spirit of thanksgiving. So how do we go about gaining this special spirit? President Gordon B. Hinckley stated, “How magnificently we are blessed! How thankful we ought to be! Cultivate the spirit of thanksgiving in your lives. Make it of the very nature of your lives. It will impart an added dimension to your character that will give depth and strength” (Stand A Little Taller, 347).
We can gain the spirit of thanksgiving by being grateful for the many blessings that we receive. It is so easy to get caught up in complaining about what we do not have instead of expressing thanks for what we do enjoy. Some of the many blessings for which I am grateful include: life itself and the opportunity to live in this beautiful world, the ability to walk, run, and do whatever I desire, clean water to drink, a house to provide warmth and comfort, food to eat, clothes to wear, freedom to go wherever I desire, family, friends, and knowledge of God and His plan for His children. I know that I am truly blessed.
Helene Rothschild wrote:
“… the essence of the holiday is to acknowledge and celebrate all the positive things in your life. It is a time that reminds us to be grateful and appreciate everything and everyone, including ourselves….”
Sean Carter wrote:
“… However, we excel most in keeping the spirit of Thanksgiving alive even today through our undying faith in what our forefathers believed in, the freedom of the soul to choose between what is right and what is wrong and our inner strength to practice this faith in God and ourselves openly. In our national songs, `In God We Trust,’ or `one nation under God,’ this faith finds special attention as well.
“… Thanksgiving is a time to rediscover the spiritual being within and draw strength from our founders and political zealots whose prolific faith has created a nation that we as well as our progeny will be proud of.”
We are all individuals and will each be thankful for specific items and people. We can strengthen ourselves and each other by cultivating the spirit of thanksgiving. We will become more happy and content if we will live in the spirit of thanksgiving.