God’s light is real. It is available to all! It gives life to all things. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound. It can be a healing balm for the loneliness and sickness of our souls. Dieter F Uchtdorf
“One of the greatest accomplishments in this world would be that of lifting human hearts. Blessed are they who are kind and considerate of the feelings of other people.” — Richard L. Evans
Disappointment ALWAYS happens on the journey to success. Get over yourself and Keep moving forward! FEAR NOT! – There is a tomorrow!
“If you need a miracle, be a miracle.” – Phillip C. McGraw
The 1st Christmas
Merry Christmas from The Howe’s.
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.
Words: Traditional French carol (Les Anges dans Nos Campagnes); translated from French to English by James Chadwick in Crown of Jesus, 1862.
Centuries ago the nation of Israel turned and watched as Moses stretched forth his hand and the walls of the Red Sea collapsed and returned to their strength. In awe Israel saw the mighty hosts of Pharaoh’s army overthrown in the sea, never again to oppress them. Now, with the subsequent restoration of God’s holy law through Moses, and their miraculous deliverance by Joshua into the Promised Land, Israel was once more a nation of free people, free in body, free in conscience, and free in nationality. Is it any wonder that Israel was so filled with joy and gratitude that they lifted their voices in song, thanking and praising God with all the power of their delivered souls?
Ever after that and for the centuries that followed, feasts and celebrations were established among the Hebrews, times of remembrance where they would be grateful and remember how that by the power of God He had made them a peculiar people and nation.
However, in time Israel did come to forget. Not only did they forget the God who had delivered them, but they forgot and mocked the covenants and responsibilities they had assumed as His chosen people. Eventually they were scattered, destroyed, and oppressed once more.
Now my dear friends, it has been said that history repeats itself. Our season of feasting and celebration is upon us this week; it’s Thanksgiving. What a blessed people we are! By the power of God we are a prosperous and a free people. Praise be to God for the kindness of His Fatherhood, for the prayers He has answered, and for the privileges He has given us. May we rejoice now in our time. We are the greatest, wealthiest people ever in the history of this earth. Ought we not to thank the God who gave it? Oh, I hope our riches never come to canker our soul.
Further, thank God for the gift of His son; we have a free conscience. Thank God for the miracle of forgiveness and the power of redemption and resurrection. We are free. No tyrant can oppress our soul or destroy our peace unless we let him. Praise be to God for the assurance and presence of a Savior Who is always there, Who will not rest in His atoning endeavors until all of us have become celestial beings.
Thank God for truth, pure unadulterated ‘diamond truth’ that allows us to see and understand, and be anchored in place in a world that has become like a roaring blender of opinions and ideas. We are so blessed!
And thank God for America and her liberty. By the power of God and His guardian angels we are a free nation. There is so much more that is worth rejoicing of in America than is worth complaining of. Look around. I see this world we live in and I wonder: My children have never known starvation, many do; my children have never understood slavery and oppression, it’s [they are] foreign to them. They have never known the fear of tyrants, nor the despair of hopelessness and bondage. And yet there are people all over the earth who suffer so much. Why – why are we such a blessed people when so many suffer so much? I cannot help but think that America has the same responsibility as ancient Israel, to lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the feeble knees. Oh, Heavenly Father, thank Thee for all of Thy bounty.
My dear friends, this Thanksgiving it is my prayer that our gratitude will overflow unto tears of humility and songs of rejoicing for the goodness of God. Oh to grace, how great a debtor; daily I’m constrained to be. Let thy goodness as a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee; prone to wander Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, oh take and seal it; seal it for thy courts above.
“My young friends, be strong. . . . You know what is right and what is wrong, and no disguise, however appealing, can change that [truth]. If your so-called friends urge you to do anything you know to be wrong, you be the one to make a stand for right, even if you stand alone.”
Thomas S. Monson, “I Have a Purpose,” Ensign, May 2010, 124
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November the 21st, 1621, Plymouth, New England: The pilgrims sat down to feast with 90 of their Indian brethren. Governor William Bradford offered the following prayer:
“Lord God, Thy hand has watchfully brought us to this land and given us friendship with the natives that live herein. We do give solemn thanks and praises to thy name.”
You know, that these stalwart souls were of a mind to offer such thanks is the story I want to tell you this Thanksgiving.
The pilgrims began as separatists from the Church of England. They wanted freedom to worship as they chose. And because of that, they were branded as traitors by the crown and persecuted, sometimes even unto death. And then, moved by the Spirit of God, they set their eyes on the newly discovered land of America. On September 6, 1620 the Mayflower set out with 102 passengers crammed in every inch of space. Consider it: Those pilgrims left all, and they would never return.
Well, the voyage was difficult, fraught with much suffering, sickness, and even death. As the season advanced, the North Atlantic weather grew colder. Food and water became scarce, and it seemed as though that journey would never end. Finally, after 66 days land was sighted at dawn on November the 19th. They dropped to their knees and thanked God.
One of them wrote though, “We now had no friends to welcome us, nor inns to entertain or refresh our weather-beaten bodies – no houses, or much less, towns to seek help.” And then she added, “And it was freezing cold weather.” But they were grateful. Why?
On Christmas day, 1620, they began construction on a common storehouse. But without homes and adequate food, they could never get warm. They weakened and became ill. When they finished the storehouse, it became a hospital.
Disease took its toll on them, and as many as two or three settlers died every day. At one time, there were only 6 healthy people out of more than a hundred who could care for the sick. This was called by them ever after “The Starving Time.” Only 51 pilgrims survived that first winter out of 102. Scarcely a family was not hit. Still, after all that, they gathered every day twice daily and offered prayers of thanks.
And you know, when the Mayflower returned to England in the spring, it is a testimony of the value of freedom to note that not one pilgrim went with her in spite of it all.
And then the Indians – they had feared them. But when the Indians finally came, they came friendly and with a desire to help, which if you consider how the Indians had already been treated by the whites, it was a miracle that they were friendly. The kindness of those early Native Americans saved those pilgrims.
Through the summer the pilgrims worked, and hard with little comfort. And when fall came, their harvest was plentiful; they wanted for nothing.
And so filled with the spirit of gratitude, Governor Bradford proclaimed a feast, and then added, “We will extend an invitation to our Indian friends to join us in the feasting.”
And on the day of the feast, Massasoit arrived with 90 Indians. For three days they prayed, sang, feasted, played, and bonded as brethren in the family of God.
Now my friends, why [was there] a feast of Thanksgiving? What did they have to grateful for? Well, they had a greater faith in God, they had freedom, and now they had food, shelter, and friends. And when you think about it, what else matters?
Their gratitude for simple things changed the lives of millions all the way to your table. Happy Thanksgiving.