Finding happiness through gratitude l Worship

By Bishop Gordon Nishimoto | Nov 28, 2018

The Thanksgiving holiday holds wonderful memories for me. As a child, my family would take a four-hour drive to celebrate the holiday with my grandparents.

My Japanese grandmother was a very traditional first generation American.

For Thanksgiving, we would all sit around the kitchen table and have a wonderful feast, combining the best of East and West. There was turkey and mashed potatoes, rice and sushi, cranberries and Daikon radish.

After a hard year of working on the farm, Thanksgiving was a celebration of a successful harvest. Later, my parents continued with a similar tradition, but at the Thanksgiving table, my father would ask us each to express what we were most grateful for, before the turkey was served. As a child, I usually said I was most thankful for my family and even though my grandparents and my mother have now passed on, I still feel the same way.

In 1939, President Joseph F. Smith, a modern day prophet, said, “The grateful man sees so much in the world to be thankful for, and with him the good outweighs the evil. Love overpowers jealousy, and light drives darkness out of his life. . . pride destroys our gratitude and sets up selfishness in its place. How much happier we are in the presence of a grateful and loving soul, and how careful we should be to cultivate, through the medium of a prayerful life, a thankful attitude toward God and man!”

Of gratitude, Luke, the apostle, shared an experience, “And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:  And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.  And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.” (Luke 17:12-19)

So, we might ask are ourselves, are we like the nine lepers who never thought to give thanks? Have we forgotten that gratitude is the key to making us whole and providing lasting happiness?

President Smith continues,  “A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort - at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude. Often we feel grateful and intend to express our thanks but forget to do so or just don’t get around to it. . .  those things which provide deep and lasting happiness and gratitude are the things which money cannot buy: our families, the gospel, good friends, our health, our abilities, the love we receive from those around us.”

The question has been asked, “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?”

My hope is that we would all wake up happy, since a key to finding true happiness is having a thankful heart. Have a wonderful holiday season! May we all remember to express gratitude to God and to those we love.

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