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Thanksgiving Special (November 20, 2016) - #4549 Music & the Spoken Word

Music & the Spoken Word broadcast with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. November 20, 2016 Broadcast Number 4549.


“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” 
Music: George J. Elvey
Lyrics: Henry Alford
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg
With Bells on Temple Square

“All Things Bright and Beautiful”1 
Music: John Rutter
Lyrics: C. Frances Alexander

“We Gather Together” (organ solo) 
Music: Edward Kremser
Arrangement: Neil Harmon

“Our Great Redeemer’s Praise” 
Music: Carl Glaser
Arrangement: Arnold B. Sherman
Featuring Bells on Temple Square

“Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,”1 from White Christmas 
by Irving Berlin
Arrangement: Michael Davis

“Hymn of Praise”2 
Music: Mack Wilberg
Lyrics: David Warner

1. On the album Peace Like a River and in the CD set Anniversary Collection.
2. On the album Glory! Music of Rejoicing.

Spoken Word

The Thankful Heart

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.”1 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!’”2

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 will find, in every hour, some heavenly blessings!"3 The difference is in the outlook of the thankful heart. Blessings can always be found when gratitude lights our way.

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