Monday, November 3, 2008

The Attitude of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is coming. Be afraid.

Okay, don't be afraid. Instead, be grateful. Gratitude is an outward sign, and inward feeling, of humility. It's a recognition that we can't even “eat our daily bread” if it weren't for the blessings of God.

In Priesthood meeting last Sunday, the teacher mentioned that there are only two countries in the world that have a national holiday with the idea of giving thanks for what we've got – the US and Canada. (Our Canadian friends just got done celebrating Thanksgiving. Ours is coming up in a few weeks.) This is a profound fact given that Mormons have a definitive tie to the American continent. In the Pearl of Great Price, Articles of Faith 1:10 reads

We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes; that Zion (the New Jerusalem) will be built upon the American continent; that Christ will reign personally upon the earth; and, that the earth will be renewed and receive its paradisiacal glory

Is it any coincidence that it is only on this continent, where Zion will be built, that as nations we follow the admonition found the Old Testament, 1 Chronicles 16:8

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.

The scriptures are ripe with stories of the importance of giving thanks. One of my favorites is found in Luke 17:

11 And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.
12 And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:
13 And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.
14 And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,
16 And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.
17 And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?
18 There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.
19 And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

More telling, and perhaps more pertinent to Mormons (and food) is this admonition from the Doctrine and Covenants, Section 59:

18 Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
19 Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
20 And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.
21 And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.

Now is I could just remember the practice that “not to excess” thing.

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