Sacrament Meeting was a rare heaven on earth experience today. I didn’t even threaten the kids within an inch of their lives beforehand. They just decided to help me out by being reverent, not whining, not crying, and not fighting. As if that little miracle of miracles wasn’t enough, on a Sunday I needed it the most no less, the whole meeting was on gratitude. Gratitude is my new favorite word and emotion.
One thing I learned today is that people have a large capacity for taking things for granted. Being truly thankful for our blessings opens our hearts and allows us to be closer to our Heavenly Father and Savior. This was mentioned by two speakers.
It’s amazing to me how true this is. Normally I have a tendency to count my blessings when times are tough because counting my blessings helps me get through it easier. But this month long challenge to be thankful was a result of me realizing how happy I am right now while drama is a distant memory. Admittedly, I was worried that this little exercise would come with huge trials and it would be hard to come up with blessings some days. I am happy to report that never happened. Some days it was hard to come up with a post only because the things I am thankful for are not appropriate to share with the world right now. Overall I would have to say that the more thankful I was the more blessed I seemed to be. Kind of a reap what you sow situation. “If you talk about your trials and repeat them o’er and o’er, the Lord might think you like them and even give you more.” The same is true with gratitude.
I love how my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Savior has improved simply by me being conscious of my blessings each day. Then you throw in some consistent scripture study and I am feeling really good about life. The good parts are that much more wonderful and the bad is a lot easier to handle. All from an attitude of gratitude.
One of the speakers also mentioned something about how an attitude of gratitude helps create a heaven on earth. I think he had quoted a paragraph from an address given in General Conference 2005. Unfortunately that is all I can remember about the reference! I had Parker on my lap and Gwen was so excited about being able to pull a difficult tab up in a quiet book. Meanwhile Gavin was excitedly telling me about the story he just read in a Bible reader for children. Yes, they were reverent but that doesn’t mean I was able to take notes or anything. That’s ok though. Having young kids is a stage in my life that will soon pass. I am so thankful for our consistent expectations of our kids. They know how to behave at church. Some Sundays are better than others but they are good kids. I guess my point is that while the quote about heaven on earth has disappeared into the air along with his voice, I experienced heaven on earth while he said it.
I substituted in Gavin’s Primary class today. The lesson was on the Savior’s crucifixion and resurrection. At first I thought it was a little strange to teach an Easter lesson right at the beginning of the Christmas season. Now I realize how perfect the timing was. Why celebrate the birth of the Savior if you don’t understand why He was so special? It’s not His miraculous birth we are celebrating or the fulfillment of centuries of prophecy. It’s Him. He was the only one who could atone for us and because of that atonement we can all be resurrected. Jesus had the power to stop His suffering. He didn’t have to do any bit of what He did but He did it because He loves us. He overcame death and made it possible for us to return to live with Him someday. That means everything to me.
The Christmas season really is the most wonderful time of the year. I plan on really enjoying every minute of this one. I feel like I have had a great jump start on doing just that. For the first time in maybe forever I am thankful for Thanksgiving! What a great experience it has been to take this holiday to the next level and enjoy so many moments of heaven on earth.