Give Thanks- Explanation

During the week of Thanksgiving I took an invitation from President Russell M. Nelson to give daily expressions of gratitude on social media using the hashtag “givethanks.”

I didn’t take the invitation right away, though. To be honest I was skeptical when I first heard about it. I was worried that the whole thing would be artificial and sappy. I didn’t want to do something that would feel contrived or insincere.

Which I think revealed a cynicism in me, and was an indicator that I really did need something sweet and enriching. As it turned out, seeing everyone else’s posts as part of that campaign created a wonderful sense of community in me. I came to greatly appreciate scrolling down my Facebook feed each day to see what my family and friends were sharing gratitude for. It felt like an advent calendar, where each day was its own happy, little bundle.

And I’m grateful for the discoveries that came to me when I eventually decided to participate. As I came to the end of my week of gratitude I decided I wanted to share those realizations with you, and I will be doing that over the several days.

I’d also be curious to hear what things you have found to be grateful for at the end of our turbulent year. Did you feel sheltered from the worst of the afflictions? Or did you build new strength by being full in the face of adversity? Or maybe you’re still unsure what God’s plan in all this has been for you. Even if that’s the case, what else is there that you will always have gratitude for?

The Family of God- Question

The study I have just concluded, one based on the need to serve to one another, suggested a new topic to me. In that research it seemed evident that we are designed to be social. Our hearts yearn for a sense of community, to regard one another as brothers and sisters, and to support each other on a shared adventure.

The scriptures definitely support this idea of us all being members of one family under God, and the way of the hermit is not what our nature was designed for. Given that, I would like to study what the ties that bind us together are, how they are strengthened, and what blessings can only be obtained as a group.

Obviously some of us are supremely lonely. And sometimes we are by necessity, such as when our belief in God puts us at opposition to those around us. But even then we still believe in communion with God and angels, a group of believers that extends beyond the veil to support us. I’d like to explore this aspect of the gospel as well.

In the meantime, I’d be curious to hear what community of discipleship you’ve been able to build up around you. Aside from local church groups, how do you setup a network of faith to rely on? What ways have those communities lifted you to more than you could have ever accomplished on your own?