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From the Homefront: A song of thanksgiving

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 23 2010 7:30 a.m. MST

Here in the United States, we are entering Thanksgiving week. Along with the continual shopping list running through my head, I am making a mental gratitude list.

This list is something I thought about as I got ready for church early Sunday morning.

My mind was also on the Primary program, scheduled to happen in just a few hours. I am Primary chorister, and I couldn't stop thinking how grateful I am for children. Not just my own children, but all children, with their bright eyes and fresh faces. Leading them in song is one of the highlights of my week.

My early morning thoughts were interrupted by a phone call from the bishop. It appeared the world outside was sheeted in ice. Church was rescheduled for late in the afternoon in hopes the ice would melt.

It did, finally. We bundled up and drove to the church, full of energy for the big event. My boys practiced their lines as we went, and we sang through some of the songs.

The church building was full of energy and excitement. The kids, dressed in their Sunday best, wiggled in their seats with anticipation. This was the culmination of 11 months of learning, plus one very long Sunday of waiting.

Finally it was time for the program to begin.

I love the primary program. Because we are discouraged from having any type of pageantry in our chapels, there are no visual aids, no costumes and no radical musical instruments.

Which means that the Primary program has not changed a bit since I was a kid: a lot of up and down motion from the chorister, the memorized recitation of lines, the one kid who sings with gusto, the other kid (always mine) picking his nose, and the one who blows out the congregation's eardrums trying to eat the microphone.

And yet.

The Primary program is still one of the highlights of the year. All of those above-mentioned elements are what make the program so endearing. When those Sunbeams stand and lisp out their little parts, it melts your heart. And when the whole throng stands to sing "I Know He Lives," you absolutely believe it. Those kids do know that Christ lives. They have absolute faith.

I held it together for the entire program. That was my job. If I crumpled into a weeping heap, it wouldn't have done any good. Then as a closing song we sang "I Know That My Redeemer Lives." The primary children sang the first verse, strong and simple. Then the congregation joined in for the fourth verse and lifted that song into the rafters.

I simply couldn't sing. I was too busy getting emotional.

If I had to make a short list of things I am grateful for on this Thanksgiving it is this: music, children and the gospel. When those three are combined into a program, it makes for a triumvirate of spiritual power.

And that is enough to melt even the iciest corners of our hearts.

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