Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

I figured I would take a hiatus from the Disney posts to pay tribute to this national day of thanks.  On Tuesday I went to an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service put together by nineteen different churches in the Marple Newtown area and the Delaware County Life Center.  Basically, it was an opportunity for people from the various congregations to donate turkeys and hats, gloves and scarves to the Life Center as well as an opportunity to share how our unique faiths' celebrate Thanksgiving.  I sang with the choir, which was comprised of people from several of the different congregations.
These days people of faith are increasingly mocked and castigated by those who do not believe in God in any form.  Apparently believing in God is no longer en vogue and to do so is naive and causes prejudice and cruelty in the believer.  However, if you had been at the service with me on Tuesday you would see that this is absolutely untrue.  As ministers, priests, bishops and rabbis got up to express their love for their fellowmen and their gratitude for all of the gifts we have in this earth it was clear that belief in God, any God, brings love and harmony where most often we find selfishness and callousness.  As far as I am concerned, whether you believe in God or not, a concern for the people around you is absolutely crucial to the well being of our nation and the world in general.  If you care how your actions impact those around you, you will be less likely to do something bad (IE: steal, mock, kill, lie,etc.) because that would have a harmful effect on your neighbors as well as yourself. 
I was listening to NPR the other day and someone was explaining that the reason that our country has worked the way it does is because people have always held themselves to a certain moral standard.  As morals are loosened or lost all together, there is a need for a larger police force to oversee things that would have normally been taken care of by our own sense of propriety.  The increased need for police can quickly outstrip the amount of money allotted and can become yet another serious deficit to our economy.  This is the direction in which our country is headed.
For the last month I have been listing daily on Facebook something for which I am grateful.  I started because a friend of mine was doing it and it sounded like fun, but it became a great exercise in true gratitude.  I actually spent a portion of each day examining my life and the many blessings that I have received so I could decide which one thing to list.  If instead of this one day each year we all spent every day focusing on the things we have instead of focusing on the things we don't, imagine the change it would bring.
I believe in God and I believe that everything in this world and everything we receive are from Him.  But I don't think you have to share that belief to acknowledge that even in these difficult times we all have so much more than we usually acknowledge:  family, friends, love, a home, safety, freedom, food to eat, and on and on.  Our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson recently said, " express gratitude is gracious and honorable, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven." Maybe I should have led with that.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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