Monday, November 24, 2008

The Four Days of Thanksgiving: Day 1 – An Inspiring Story

My first guests will be arriving later today, which means that Thanksgiving week has officially begun! With that in mind, I am kicking off my latest invention: The Four Days of Thanksgiving.

In the tradition of the Christmas song that inspired it, I will sing it to you...(well, cyber-sing, anyway):

On the First Day of Thanksgiving, my blog friend gave to me, a truly inspiring story.

Albert Schweitzer once said, "At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."

On this "First Day of Thanksgiving," I think with deep gratitude of brave forebears who paved the way for all of us. They were valiant men and women for whom hardship and thanksgiving were a way of life. Reflecting upon their courage never fails to light a flame within me, and I hope I am never so careless as to take them for granted. While it is cannot be easy to appreciate trials and tribulation, their legacy proves to me that it is always possible.

Elder Steven Snow of the Seventy related this story in his October 2001 conference talk entitled "Gratitude."

"In October of 1879, a group of 237 Latter-day Saints from several small southwestern Utah settlements was called to blaze a new route and colonize what is today known as San Juan County in southeastern Utah. The journey was to have taken six weeks but instead took nearly six months. Their struggles and heroics are well documented, particularly their seemingly impossible task of crossing the Colorado River at a place called Hole-in-the-Rock. Those who have visited this place marvel that wagons and teams could have been lowered through this narrow crack in the red rock canyon walls to reach the Colorado River far below. Once the Colorado was crossed, however, many other severe tests awaited them on the trail to San Juan County. Tired and completely worn out, early in April 1880, they faced their final obstacle, Comb Ridge. The Comb is a ridge of solid sandstone forming a steep wall nearly 1,000 feet high.

"One hundred and twenty years later," Elder Snow told the conference, "[my own] family climbed Comb Ridge on a bright spring day. The ridge is steep and treacherous. It was difficult to imagine that wagons, teams, men, women, and children could make such an ascent. But beneath our feet were the scars from the wagon wheels, left as evidence of their struggles so long ago. How did they feel after enduring so much? Were they bitter after the many months of toil and privation? Did they criticize their leaders for sending them on such an arduous journey, asking them to give up so much? Our questions were answered as we reached the top of Comb Ridge. There, inscribed in the red sandstone so long ago, were the words, "We thank thee, O God."

Now thank we all our God
with hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things hath done,
in Whom His world rejoices;
Who, from our mothers' arms,
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.
 - Martin Rinkart

Thanking God is appropriate, in good times and in bad times. He is steadfastly on our side, reaching out always to heal and bless us. Nonetheless, the Savior, who is always a Giver, is too seldom a Receiver of our gratitude, and that has been true from the beginning of His earthly mission and ministry. Remember the story of the ten lepers? Only one of them came back to thank Him.

On this "First Day of Thanksgiving," my prayer for all of us is that we may be like the one...and not the nine.


Kristin said...

Who's coming today? I am jealous.

Sue said...

Grandma and Grandpa will be here this afternoon...Everyone else arrives Wednesday, like you! Can't wait to see you guys!!

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