What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: neonlike
As I ponder Thanksgiving this year, my focus rests on the action portion of the word itself: giving thanks. Oddly enough, I only really noticed portion of the word after learning its Spanish equivalent: dÃa de acciÃ³n de gracias (day of action of thanks).
As Latter-day Saints, we frequently express the necessity of giving thanks as an active expression of our gratitude. This is reflected in our hymn “Because I Have Been Given Much,” where we publicly affirm our commitment to give of our time, talents, and energy to others as a declaration of our love of God and man. We further state that we will show our thanks through both word and deed—a comprehensive approach if ever there was one.
In light of this obligation, it is appropriate to ponder our activities not only on Thanksgiving day (and its secular sister holiday, Black Friday), but on every day. Just as our worship should not be reserved for the Sabbath, so too should our action of thanksgiving not be relegated to one box on the calendar.
How are we as individuals, Latter-day Saints, and as a society at large, expressing our gratitude? Does my thanksgiving end when the turkey and mashed potatoes are done digesting? Do I consider the celebration and holiday complete once my favorite football game ends?
I take the opportunity today to ponder how I am, through word and deed, offering my thanks to God (by serving my fellow man) for the countless blessings I enjoy. Verbally listing a few of them is not enough—I have, running through my mind, faces of the people I’ve met who today are likely either dead from AIDS, going without a meal, or putting in a fourteen hour day of hard labor to provide a horribly meager living for their family. As I enjoy my meal, I think of the gratitude I have not only for the food in front of me, but for the opportunity I have to help those who have been put in my path.
My thanksgiving is incomplete without taking some time to ponder and reassess my charitable actions and attitude. I encourage each of us to increase our actions of thanksgiving—thus shall [our] thanks be thanks in deed.