This week is Thanksgiving and I must be thankful first and foremost for my amazing wife. She has been wonderful the
last several months, enduring unimaginable (to me, at least) discomfort and pain as she brought our son into this world. For those who are as yet unaware (those few of you who may read this blog and not be friends on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter), Saturday morning at 9:31 my son, James Anthony was born at 6 lbs 6oz and 19 inches. A beautiful, healthy baby boy, with a cute cleft chin just like his father (Sorry, kid, you’re stuck with it like I was).
This is the second thing I am thankful for this season. I am a father (which is kind of a scary thought, especially for me, since I know just how irresponsible I am). I have a son who is the most adorable thing I have ever seen, a kid who curls up asleep on me with such the faintest smile on his face you can’t help but fall immediately in love with him. For the rest of my life and his, I will be his father and he will be my son. These familial bonds were forged this weekend, and they will last throughout the eternities, thanks to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the assurances we receive from it.
I am thankful for friends and family, people who love us and care about us and have offered their help countless times. I am thankful for examples I have had in fatherhood, from my own father to the Young Men and Scout leaders I had growing up, to the various wonderful Bishops who have served me over the years. I hope that I can do what you have shown me needs to be done to raise children in righteousness, walking in the Lord’s paths, keeping his statutes. I am thankful for the kindness of strangers, of hospital staff and volunteers who have gone out of their way to make my wife and my son comfortable and happy. Especially those volunteers with the American Fork Hospital branch of the Church, who brought my wife and I the sacrament on Sunday morning. I have had taken the sacrament thousands of times in my life, and have heard those words, speaking them myself easily hundreds of times, yet to hear them in the hospital sitting next to my wife holding our newborn son was an experience I hope I never forget. Such a spirit was there, the spirit that should be present in all of our sacrament meetings. The spirit of Christ and of service and love.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a wonderful thing. So simple that a child of eight years is fully capable of understanding it enough to enter into its first ordinance of baptism, yet so complex and all-encompassing that a man may spent his entire life studying and never fully understand all of its precepts and concepts. The gospel’s main function is to strengthen families and bring them back to the presence of our Father in heaven. Family is the most important thing in all of eternity. When you consider God, the Infinite, the Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient, All-powerful Creator of All Things, He who is so complete that all things become titles for him, yet what title does he choose for himself? By what title does he wish to be addressed? “Father” He is our Father, and fatherhood is so important to Him, that he uses that title above all others that rightfully apply to him. So, what does that mean to us, who are earthly fathers? It means we have the most perfect example in knowing how to raise our children.
We love these children, I am just beginning to learn how much, yet we have known them for such a short time. God had known them for an eternity, has watched them grow and progress already until they were born into this mortal life, and He continues to have a vested interest in how their lives turn out. We cannot love these children of ours as much as He does, but we can work with Him to care for them, to love them , and to help them reach their divine potential. I am not perfect, and I am thankful for that realization and for the love of our Father in heaven who reaches out and covers my imperfections with His perfection.
I am thankful for Thanksgiving. For a few days off school and work. For a few days to be home with my family, to cook for them, provide for them, be there for them. This is truly a wonderful time of year. Thank you.