For those who live in the United States, today is Thanksgiving day.
It’s also a time when I like to consider those who may be in need, and find simple ways to try to help others. (Friendly reminder: Have you donated to your local food bank, or homeless shelter, or another charity that can help the poor?)
Our congregation’s (ward) choir has sung a beautiful song several years in a row now, putting the following beautiful poem to music. I thought I would share it here.
O God, beneath Thy guiding hand
Our exiled fathers crossed the sea;
And when they trod the wintry strand,
With prayer and psalm they worshipped Thee.
Thou heardest, well pleased, the song, the prayer:
Thy blessing came; and still its power
Shall onward, through all ages, bear
The memory of that holy hour.
Laws, freedom, and faith in God
Came with those exiles o’er the waves;
And, where their pilgrim feet have trod,
The God they trusted guards their graves.
And here Thy Name, O God of love,
Their children’s children still adore,
Till these eternal hills remove,
And spring adorns the earth no more.
Leonard Bacon, 1833
At this time of year, there is also a scripture that is meaningful to me.
And I looked and beheld a man among the Gentiles, who was separated from the seed of my brethren by the many waters; and I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down and wrought upon the man; and he went forth upon the many waters, even unto the seed of my brethren, who were in the promised land.
And it came to pass that I beheld the Spirit of God, that it wrought upon other Gentiles; and they went forth out of captivity, upon the many waters.
And it came to pass that I beheld many multitudes….
And I beheld the Spirit of the Lord, that it was upon the Gentiles, and they did prosper and obtain the land for their inheritance….
And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld that the Gentiles who had gone forth out of captivity did humble themselves before the Lord; and the power of the Lord was with them. (1 Nephi 13:14-16)
These are verses from The Book of Mormon, where a prophet, Nephi, saw some of what it is that we celebrate on Thanksgiving — people going out of captivity to inhabit a land, where they were able to prosper and build a nation. I am grateful for the sacrifices of those who helped make living in this country of mine possible.
In celebrating this day, and sharing my beliefs about God’s involvement in the establishment of this nation, I want to also emphasize my belief that God is keenly aware of and loves all of His children, no matter where they live. May we all find His peace as we enter a season where many of us will celebrate holidays that champion love, service, and gratitude.