Music and the Spoken Word

The Thankful Heart - Sunday, November 20, 2016 - Thanksgiving Special

Long before the New England colonists held their now-legendary autumn feast nearly 400 years ago, and well before Thanksgiving was ever a holiday, giving thanks has been essential to the human soul. And that’s true not only in times of plenty. On good days and bad, through abundance and scarcity, we make life sweeter when we count our blessings.

Perhaps that is why gratitude is said to be “not only the greatest of all virtues, but the parent of all . . . virtues.” We would all do well to pause and ponder how blessed we are. It doesn’t require a holiday to live in thanksgiving daily.

Yet on days when we feel weighed down with burdens, it can be difficult to see the beautiful and hear the positive. But that doesn’t mean they are not there!

The story is told of a young girl and her grandmother taking a walk together. “The song of the birds was glorious to the little girl, and she pointed out every sound to her grandmother. ‘Do you hear that?’ the little girl asked again and again. But her grandmother was hard of hearing and could not make out the sounds. Finally, the grandmother knelt down and said, ‘I’m sorry, dear. Grandma doesn’t hear so well.’ Exasperated, the little girl took her grandmother’s face in her hands, looked intently into her eyes, and said, ‘Grandma, listen harder!’”

While this advice may not help a grandmother hear the birds chirping, it’s excellent advice for us when life’s worries make us deaf to its beauties. All around us are blessings, large and small. Listen, and you will hear the glorious sounds around you. Look, and you will see the beauty around you. Cultivate the habit of finding the good, and give thanks continually.

Henry Ward Beecher wrote, “The unthankful heart . . . discovers no mercies; but let the thankful heart sweep through the day and . . . it will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!” The difference is in the outlook of the thankful heart. Blessings can always be found when gratitude lights our way.

-Lloyd D. Newell

Marcus Tullius Cicero, in Abram N. Coleman, ed., Proverbial Wisdom: Proverbs, Maxims, and Ethical Sentences (1903), 123.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Fourth Floor, Last Door,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2016, 16.
In Mark Allen Baker, Connecticut Families of the Revolution: American Forebears from Burr to Wolcott (2014), np.

November 20, 2016
Broadcast Number 4,549

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Bells on Temple Square

The Thankful Heart

Mack Wilberg

Bells conductor
LeAnna Willmore

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come
George J. Elvey; arr. Mack Wilberg

All Things Bright and Beautiful
John Rutter

We Gather Together
Edward Kremser; arr. Neil Harmon

Our Great Redeemer’s Praise
Carl Glaser; arr. Arnold B. Sherman

Count Your Blessings instead of Sheep
Irving Berlin; arr. Michael Davis

Hymn of Praise
Mack Wilberg