President Nelson’s #GiveThanks Challenge Brings New Meaning To 2020
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — While this may have been a Thanksgiving unlike any other, social media was buzzing with posts about gratitude.
Thursday was the last day of the #GiveThanks challenge by President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and while holiday celebrations may have been unusual, many were filled with gratitude.
#GiveThanks has been trending on social media, with 3.4-million posts on Instagram and nearly 900,000 people posting on Facebook.
Those who spoke to KSL TV on Thanksgiving Day said it gave a new meaning to the year 2020, which has been particularly challenging for many.
“Working together, we can flood social media with a wave of gratitude that reaches the four corners of the earth,” said President Nelson in his video message.
For seven days, church members and friends around the world were asked to focus on the good.
“I think flooding social media with #GiveThanks was a breath of fresh air,” said Jonathan Shaw who participated in the gratitude challenge.
“I am extremely grateful for technology,” said Jerry Rose, another participant.
“I’m grateful for my family,” said the Shaws.
Posts covered a wide range of topics — from the universally cherished, to those with personal meaning.
“I’m grateful for nature,” said one of the Shaw children.
“This month is also Native American Heritage month, so our heritage,” said Emmalani Longenecker. “We’re thanking our ancestors.”
As the week wore on, even the things we may take for granted took on a new perspective.
“I’m really grateful for the little things in life, like a brand new pair of socks because I love socks,” said Nannette Palmer.
“Those moments where you’re just like, ‘Man, I wish I could just engrave this in my mind,'” said Mallorie Harker. “And there’s such simple moments of watching my husband and boys jump on the trampoline, laughing and giggling.”
People even expressed gratitude for the tough times.
“I’m like, ‘Oh, give thanks!” said Longenecker, who lost everything in a house fire. “We have silverware to eat with and beds to sleep on — all of that, people have given to us.”
“COVID,” added the Shaw child. “Because of COVID, we’ve grown closer as a family.”
While the gratitude posts were not a panacea.
“People who can see some good, even in the face of bad things, are luckier and tend to bounce back,” said Dr. Richard Pohl.
Pohl said it’s a step in the right direction.
“If you reach out in whatever way available to you and help another person, it’s going to help you feel better,” he said.
Maybe what’s what the spirit of Thanksgiving is all about.
“It’s like a light switch changed and what I noticed is everyone is more understanding now,” said Palmer.
Many people noticed the hashtag #GiveThanks caught on with friends of different backgrounds and denominations.
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