I am a bakery clerk. One of my many tasks is that of frosting doughnuts, in other words, I’m a doughnut lady. I had an experience today that I have experienced many times. A customer will come up to the counter on their cell phones, fully expecting me to help them while they continue with their conversation. They make their selection with hand gestures and glare at me if I don’t know exactly what they want. All they are thinking about is what donut they want. And all I want is some common courtesy.
What is common courtesy and why is it missing in our society today? According to Merriam Webster dictionary courtesy is a polite behavior that shows respect for other people. Is it too much to ask to get off the phone when someone is trying to get you the donuts you want. Apparently it is. So my plea today is to try to follow the golden rule, treat others as you would like to be treated. Look into my face and talk to me, not hush me because the person on the other end of the phone is more important. Realize that I am a person and have cares and concerns as well.
My experience today ended on a positive note. The customer who was so rude and would not speak to me, came back, and apologized for being on his phone. So I was proved wrong. Common courtesy is still on the earth and we can find it if we extend it ourselves.
Growing up my mother often said “beggars can’t be choosers”. In a sense we are all beggars(Mosiah 4:19). And we cannot choose the blessings that God gives to us. So often we have our own timetable and often the blessings we receive don’t fall into that timetable. So instead of being grateful, we reject the blessings or complain about them.
A few weeks ago I had an experience that help me realize how often this happens today. I was driving in my car and the radio was announcing the weather for the upcoming weekend. The forecast called for rain. The announcer then said something very strange in my opinion. It was to the effect of “we really need the rain, but does it have to come on a weekend?” How often are we like that? We ask for blessings, but when they come at an inconvenient time we are not thankful for them.
I am thankful to be a beggar. To be completely reliant on the Lord. At times I am extremely grateful and other times grumble because I cannot see the blessings. Blessings come in many shapes and forms. I know that God does hear and answers our prayers. And He answers them in the way that will be best for us. It may not be in the way or time that we expect them, but they will come.
The other day I woke up to fluffy white stuff falling from the sky. I have been unusually blessed this winter by having this stuff be in rare supply. Amid groans and complaints I went throughout my day. Then I had the opportunity to sing the well-known hymn “How Great Thou Art”. This beautiful hymn reminded me of all the blessings a loving Father has given me.
It isn’t the snow that is awful, it’s the results that are. There is nothing that can compare to the beauty of freshly fallen snow. Or seeing the mountains that surround me dressed in the winter finest. Or the way it covers up all the rough edges and softens it to a picturesque scene. So often I take for granted the beauty of this world and complain about the one thing that isn’t pleasant.
When I stop and take a look around me, I realize how beautiful this earth is. Then I realize that the Great Creator made this for us. What is even greater is that he sent His Beloved Son to this earth, to suffer and die, so that I can return to live with Him someday. This alone cause my soul to sing, “How Great Thou Art.”
Have you ever felt as if there is not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that you need and want to? It seems that there are the necessary things such as sleep, work, & eating. Then there are the things that we want to do to feel part of society. Too often in this rush we forget to take care of the most important thing, our spiritual side.
Nourishing our spiritual side is just as important as nourishing our physical bodies. When our spiritual side starves it affects every aspect of our lives. I have learned through experience that when I make time to study my scriptures and to communicate with my Heavenly Father, that my life is better. I have more hope and a clearer view of what is happening. When I have neglected these small and simple things my view gets distorted and my outlook on life is bleak.
The reason these small and simple things are so important is that they connect us to Christ. It is only when we have this connection that we can have hope, which then lightens our lives. Too often we get so busy that we forget this and try to make it through life without light. I know when I have slacked in nourishing my spiritual side, it is then that life gets hard for me.
When I make time to read my scriptures and to pray, I am really making time for Christ to enter my life. It is then that I can accomplish great things. It is only then that I have direction and guidance. If your life is getting a little dark or not quite clear, figure out if you have made time to allow the nourishing power of the scriptures in your life. As we make time our spiritual sides will be nourished and our physical bodies will thrive.
The birth of one child brought hope to the entire world.Limited few knew the impact that this infant would have. Wise men diligently awaiting His birth knew. As did prophets of old. Angels herald news of His birth to shepherds,who then knew that this child was important. What the few in Bethlehem knew then, is now known throughout the world. His birth which was followed by His exemplary life followed by his triumphant death saved the world and gives us hope today.
This time of year is when we celebrate His birth. To me we are in essence renewing our hope. Everything looks a bit brighter and the future not so bleak. We, hopefully, forgive past trespasses and give with a lighter heart. Lights brighten up the darkest time of the year and children’s faces shine with the Spirit of the season. Hope is everywhere and it is all possible because of the birth of the Christ child.
The reason we celebrate His birth, is because of what His death accomplished. We “have hope through the atonement of Christ…” (Moroni 7:41). Is it no wonder then why the celebration of His birth is a season of hope. It is because of our faith in Him that we can have hope. His wondrous birth and life provides hope for all ages.
What is it about Christmas time that makes it so wonderful? Is it the snow? The irresistible Christmas music drifting from every which way? Or is it the bright and wonderful decorations that we see every way? There is something about Christmas that invites us to forgive our neighbors, extend a helping hand to those in need, and to gather with family and friends and celebrate.
I believe that the true reason lies deep within us all. Underneath all the commercialism that surrounds this holiday there is a reason why Christmas is the most wonderful time of year. It is because we are celebrating the birth of our Savior. No matter how hard some may try to hide him, His Light creeps through. It is His Light that inspires us to reach out to others and think beyond ourselves.
In this season, when we celebrate the Christ child’s birth, we tend to follow his example, intentional or not. Christ spent his whole life focusing on others instead of himself. And it when we focus on others and not ourselves that we find the great happiness that is available every Christmas season.
I invite and urge everyone to find a way to have the Christmas spirit. It does not have to be some grand display. It is much greater when we give with a sincere heart, no matter how small the gesture may be. As we do so this can indeed be the most wonderful time of the year.
My last two Thanksgivings have been spent far away from home. So for the first time in two years, I will be home for Thanksgiving. As I ponder this amazing blessing, I am reminded of my other amazing blessings. And these blessings have somehow shaped my life, for which I am thankful. Please indulge me as I share a heart that is overflowing with gratitude.
To start I am thankful for the two amazing Thanksgivings I had on my mission. One in the MTC, the other in Newark. My second Thanksgiving was spent with this family, who made us feel as if we were home again. These holidays spent in New York truly illuminated what having a grateful heart is all about. It is more about being grateful for what you have been blessed with than what we are lacking. Gratitude is a choice.
Next I am thankful for God’s guiding hand in my life. If it wasn’t for His guidance, I would not be in the place that I am or be as happy as I am. His guidance has put in a place that I could never imagine and never would be on my own. Which leads to what I am thankful for next…my roommates. These amazing women I never would have met if I hadn’t been directed. They have truly blessed my life and I thank God daily that they are in my life. How blessed can one person get?
I could go on and on about other blessings, such as my crazy, wonderful family, or the miracles that happen daily. but I will just end with the thing that I am most thankful for. And that is the Atonement of Jesus Christ. There is nothing more that I can say. It brings joy, it bridges the ravine of sin between us and God, it gives us hope for a brighter today and a better tomorrow.
If we can be thankful for the Atonement and Jesus Christ, then we can be able to see the multitude of other blessings around us. Even in our darkest hour there is a chance to be thankful… for the Light of Jesus Christ. Look around and find what you are thankful for.
Watch this video to see how to live with a thankful heart. Clicke here to watch Thanksgiving Daily.