“O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand . . .” (Psalms 95:1–7)
“And now, my beloved brethren, I desire that ye should remember these things, and that ye should work out your salvation with fear before God, and that ye should no more deny the coming of Christ; That ye contend no more against the Holy Ghost, but that ye receive it, and take upon you the name of Christ; that ye humble yourselves even to the dust, and worship God, in whatsoever place ye may be in, in spirit and in truth; and that ye live in thanksgiving daily, for the many mercies and blessings which he doth bestow upon you.” (Alma 34:37–38)
A Few Thanksgiving Resources
- Wikipedia article on the history of Thanksgiving
- Mormon Identities Episode: "Pilgrims and Pioneers" with Susan Easton Black and Jenny Pulsipher
- Some other scripture references: Psalms 50:14-15, 100:3-5, 147:7-8; D&C 136:28
Thanksgiving . . . turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, and other familiar and favorite foods. Thanksgiving . . . family and friends. Thanksgiving . . . memories of grade school Thanksgiving plays, with children dressed up as pilgrims and Indians, complete with home made costumes made of brown paper bags!
|Rachel in a Thanksgiving play in 2003|
I try to be thankful and express proper gratitude towards God on Thanksgiving, I really do. But over the years I have found that my traditional prayer before dinner—which seems to grow longer and, I am afraid, a little more grandiloquent every year—do I really spend enough time with the Lord on Thanksgiving. When Samuel, impatient with my meandering prayer, interjects a loud "amen" in the middle of it to try to curb its length, I am reminded of Jesus' critique of "the heathen" who thought they would be heard "for their much speaking" (Matthew 6:7).
It is important to pray as a family on Thanksgiving, perhaps adding some Thanksgiving hymns or scriptures. But it is probably even more important that we find some quiet, individual Thanksgiving time, not just this one day a year but every day. I do this by reading scripture verses like the ones above, by listing or thinking about my blessings, singing and listening to Thanksgiving hymns and music, and praying for those whom I care for.
|One of our last family Thanksgivings at Nana's, 2003|
|Thanksgiving in Jerusalem, 2011|
Come, ye thankful people, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All is safely gathered in
Ere the winter storms begin.
God, our Maker, doth provide
For our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's own temple, come;
Raise the song of harvest home.
All the world is God's own field,
Fruit unto his praise to yield,
Wheat and tares together sown,
Unto joy or sorrow grown.
First the blade, and then the ear,
Then the full corn shall appear.
Lord of harvest, grant that we
Wholesome grain and pure may be.
For the Lord our God shall come,
and shall take His harvest home;
From His field shall in that day
all offenses purge away,
Give His angels charge at last
in the fire the tares to cast;
But the fruitful ears to store
in His garner evermore.
Even so, Lord, quickly come,
bring Thy final harvest home;
Gather Thou Thy people in,
free from sorrow, free from sin,
There, forever purified,
in Thy garner to abide;
Come, with all Thine angels come,
raise the glorious harvest home.
Thanksgiving 2013 is unusual because it overlaps with the Jewish festival of Chanukah. "Thanksgivukkah," as some have come to call it, is a particularly good time to reflect upon the goodness of God to his people: just as he miraculously blessed the Jews at the time of the Maccabees, so does he continue to work miracles in our lives today.
|Rachel lighting the first candle on the eve of "Thanksgivukkah"|
|A Thanksgiving challah!|