News Story

Thanksgiving — A Time to Reflect on Bounteous Blessings

Today, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints join others in Canada to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in Canada is a rather unique affair. Although it bears the same name as the November holiday observed in the United States, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated in October. Indigenous celebrations of the fall harvest long predated European colonization, and the first recorded “thanksgiving” of European origin in Canada was marked by Sir Martin Frobisher and his expedition crew in 1578 after they had landed safely in Newfoundland.

A favourite hymn among many Mormons and those of other Christian faiths is “For the Beauty of the Earth” (hymn 92, English; cantique 43, French), in which the beauty of earthly creation, human life and friendship is lauded in grateful praise. Given the turmoil witnessed of late — both in terms of devastating natural disaster and human tragedy — thanksgiving and the space it provides to meditate on the blessings in our lives seems to be particularly well timed.

When asked what Thanksgiving means to her, Rebecca Smith, a Church member residing in Edmonton, Alberta, highlighted that she loves Thanksgiving because it provides her time to be with her family and focus on the positive impact they are in her life.

Church member Evelyn Smith of Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia, pointed to the opportunity Thanksgiving presents her to focus on the bounty of blessings, both of the earth and otherwise, before a long and dark winter sets in.

When asked about the significance of Thanksgiving in her life, Susan Fraser, a member of the Church in Langley, British Columbia, focused on the importance of traditions and of spending time within the peaceful confines of family and friends to reflect on blessings. She remarked, “My mom would always say, ‘Let’s get this eating thing over with so we can have some fun!’ That’s still my mantra today. I try very hard to keep those traditions alive today and to be with as many family and friends as I can.”

Elder Robert D. Hales, a recently deceased member of the Church’s Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, taught: “In some quiet way, the expression and feelings of gratitude have a wonderful cleansing or healing nature. Gratitude brings warmth to the giver and the receiver alike” (“Gratitude for the Goodness of God,” April 1992 general conference).

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, may we all find some time to meditate on the richness of our blessings, the people that we love and the beauty of our earth.

Contributed by Samantha Smith-Bird

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