As America prepares to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I think it’s only appropriate to stop and consider where all of our blessings come from. I know that there are circumstances and societal that can cause us all to stop and wonder if we are getting good gifts or not — and those things can even cause us to wonder if Christ is still paying attention at all anymore.
What is a good gift?
If we think with mortal mindsets, good gifts are things that will allow us to live with ease and luxury. Children will never get sick, evil will disappear, as will hunger and other social inequites. All of this sounds wonderful — because it is! When the Savior appears and we move from mortality back into eternal realms, these are things we can anticipate with joy.
So, why don’t we get them here? And, if we don’t get them here, how can Jesus claim to be the giver of all good gifts?
To me, the issue is trying to get to the end result without following the process. As a teacher, I can most readily compare this to the learning process.
In my class, it would be so easy to just tell the kids what to do, coach them, and let them have fabulous results. They look and sound like a million bucks, and they feel wonderful for being able to make such beautiful music. Do they understand anything of the musical principles they used to create those beautiful sounds? Can they recreate similar sounds and make their own music?
We came here to earth to become like Heavenly Father. That means we have to understand the powers and processes that He uses — just as Christ does. We have to be willing to learn and grow so that we can recreate his plan for others.
I want my children to be able to use what they learn with me outside of my music room. Jesus wants us to gain spiritual power that we can use now and into the eternities.
So, I settle for “substandard” musical sounds created by children who are just beginning to learn. They struggle through questions and problems I present so that they have to grapple with new musical concepts, while I stand ready to help and explain when they are in over their heads.
Can you see the similarity to life? If Christ took away all sorrow, all heartache, all unfairness now, we lose the opportunity to learn and grow. That’s why Christ’s gifts are good — he helps us just enough along the way to keep us going, but never oversteps to impede the growth we so desparately need.
So, as we contemplate Thanksgiving in America, stop and think about all the parts of your life — the good, the bad, and the ugly. See if you can find where you have opportunities to grow. Look for the help you have already received, and do what it takes to be worthy of further blessings, help, and guidance. Christ is giving us good gifts all the time — we just have to see them and receive them!