November 27th, 2008

The Action of Thanksgiving

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: día de acción 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.

3 Responses to “The Action of Thanksgiving”

  1. mommymita
    November 27, 2008 at 11:04 pm #

    There’s no greater joy and satisfaction than that of service and giving. Perhaps our most meaningful meals are the ones we “give up” in order to share with others. I will remember that next fast Sunday.

  2. Kelly W.
    November 28, 2008 at 10:59 am #

    In order to make Thanksgiving more meaningful, we need to change the date.

    First, Thanksgiving is usually thought of as a harvest celebration, being thankful for the bounties of the harvest season. To correspond more with the harvest theme, it should be moved to October. Other countries who celebrate Thanksgiving, celebrate it in October. (The end of November is way past the harvest season in Utah.)

    If we moved the date to October, there would be better travel conditions for traversing the slick and icy roads on the way to Grandma’s house.

    Thanksgiving is a “forgotten” holiday. The $tore$ can’t wait to get their Chri$tmas decorations up, in order to make big buck$. There is no money in marketing for Thanksgiving, except at the grocery store where they can sell yams, which normally are never bought by North Americans.

    As long as we’re even considering moving Thanksgiving to October, we might as well change the day of the week to Friday, so more people can enjoy a 3-day weekend. The placement of Thanksgiving on a Thursday makes no sense to me. I have to work Monday through Wednesday, and then return to work on Friday. This leaves me no time to travel to Grandma’s house.

    With the moving of Thanksgiving to a Friday in October, the sanctity of the Holiday could be emphasized. It wouldn’t be run-over by Christmas marketing schemes of the WalMarts of the world.

  3. Shayne Packer
    December 2, 2008 at 1:52 am #

    Thanks for the inspiring thoughts. Indeed, it is important to give our thanks by our actions.

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