KGIFFORD MUG

So it’s November and 2021 is coming to a close. Most of us assumed that 2021 wouldn’t have to try too hard to improve on 2020 and it seems there is still plenty to complain about, worry about, and be depressed about, but as Elder Jeffrey Holland, quipped, “No misfortune is so bad that whining about it won’t make it worse.”

Thanksgiving is the traditional time to count our blessings. It’s the time to stop whining and be grateful for every good thing. Aldous Huxley said “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted,” and I know I am among them.

We’ve all heard the axiom, “an attitude of gratitude,” and are probably aware of the way that gratitude improves our outlook and our lives. One of my favorite authors, Dennis Prager, wrote, “All happy people are grateful. Ungrateful people cannot be happy. We tend to think that being unhappy leads people to complain, but it’s truer to say that complaining leads to people becoming unhappy.”

The story of the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-14 is a great example of ingratitude and taking things for granted. Ten lepers were healed by Christ of their affliction, but only one returned to thank Him. Perhaps that number is illustrative of us and how many of us return to Christ the thanks that He so richly deserves. Christ himself gave us an example of gratitude when He gave thanks over the loaves and fishes before he fed the multitude. If Christ, who is the giver of all good things, gave thanks, maybe we should do better at giving Him our thanks.

This Thanksgiving, when we count our blessings, perhaps it would be good to spend a little time to thank our Savior for what He has done for us.

So what has the Savior done for us? I don’t have the space to list even a fraction of the blessings that come from Him, but here are just a few:

He gave us His gospel, which provides the answers to life’s greatest questions: where did I come from, why am I here, and where am I going? Doesn’t this knowledge make all the difference? It gives purpose to our daily lives and vision to see past the grief and sorrow that accompanies mortality. It allows us to forgive others and helps us see the “big picture” and that this life is not all there is.

Christ taught us how to pray and how to live, how to treat others, and how to show compassion. His gifts of service to those around Him can inspire us to look around and see what we can do to help others. He comforts us in our afflictions, gives us strength when we are weak, and hope when we are hopeless. He gives us the light of truth because, as He tells us, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” All goodness emanates from Him and because of Him.

And then there is His atonement, the seminal event of all time and eternity that promises, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19). Elder Tad R Callister explained, “In one sense, it is a series of divine events that commenced in the Garden of Gethsemane, continued on the cross, and culminated with the Savior’s resurrection from the tomb. It was motivated by an incomprehensible love for each of us. It required a being who was sinless, who had infinite power over the elements—even death--who possessed a boundless capacity to suffer the consequences of all our sins and ailments, and who, in fact, descended beneath it all. This was the mission of Jesus Christ. This was His Atonement.”

Because of Christ’s atonement, we can repent, change, and be clean. Isaiah promised, “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18).” We have hope of eternal life because of Jesus Christ.

So this Thanksgiving when we are counting our blessings, let’s begin and end with the Alpha and Omega, even our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Kristine Gifford is the Communications Director for the Glendive Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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