Joy and Thanksgiving: Connection – Joy and Thanksgiving!

Well, today is the last day of the Joy and Thanksgiving Study Series. I hope that you have enjoyed it. I have! It has been great to learn more about the true meaning of happiness, how to find it, and how it is related to gratitude. Studying these scriptures has inspired me to make positive changes so I can be happier.

Anyways…today’s scripture block is a connection – between Joy and Thanksgiving.

“And the earth did cleave together again, that it stood; and the mourning, and the weeping, and the wailing of the people who were spared alive did cease; and their mourning was turned into joy, and their lamentations into the praise and thanksgiving unto the Lord Jesus Christ, their Redeemer.” – 3 Nephi 10:10

Okay…so the first part of this scripture assignment doesn’t seem very joyful, but I think that one of the biggest things I’ve been noticing about happiness is it’s relationship with pain. Sounds strange, I know, but happiness and misery, joy and pain, are related. They are related – especially in this life – as they are in opposition one to another.

My friend, “Curls” made the best observation…“I think for me the most important thing I’ve learned about happiness is that it is NOT constant. Because happiness comes from God and we are not yet in perfect unity with Him there will be times (sometimes short and sometimes long) where we don’t feel happy or joyful. These times are usually when I have the opportunity to experience serious growth since they try my character and my faith.

I think another important thing I’ve learned is that the world expects happiness ALL the time. So if something doesn’t make you happy constantly then you should let go of it and try something else. I think this is one of the selfish roots of the many problems of our day, divorce, broken families, entitlement, greed, etc.

And finally the scripture in 2 Nephi 2:11 stating that there is opposition in all things. No happiness without misery as they are a compound in one.” Don’t you think that’s great! I love this concept…

Once, I was teaching a class to a group of Young Women, and one of the girls asked me if God is happy. That question still comes to me all the time – is He happy? Will we be happy?

And, I think that the answer is YES! It doesn’t mean that he’s happy in the way the world has taught us to be happy. But He’s really happy. Does this mean that misery does not exist? No. He is perfect though, and as God, he is above sin and everything that misery causes.

So, as we learn to be like Him, we overcome the pains of misery. And, as taught in 3 Nephi 10:10, our overcoming misery and the pains of mortality is through Jesus Christ.

Jesus heals our broken hearts. He brings peace to our souls. He will turn our mourning into joy and our lamentations into thanksgiving. And here’s how it can be done…

“If thou art sorrowful, call on the Lord thy God with supplication, that your souls may be joyful.” – Doctrine and Covenants 136:29

I have to admit, I don’t do this enough. Often, I go through, suffering pain or affliction, worrying, moping, whatever – I do this on my own. I don’t always call on God with supplication. Instead, I think that either 1) I have to suffer or 2) I have to figure it out on my own. or 3) I’m just crazy.

No!

The Lord wants to help our souls to be joyful. We need to turn to Him.

And when we do, our souls are joyful. We are happy, and this is how we should respond to such a blessing:

“If thou art merry, praise the Lord with singing, with music, with dancing, and with a prayer of praise and thanksgiving” – Doctrine and Covenants 136:28

We give thanks.

One thing I love about this scripture is that we give thanks through creative expression. We give thanks with praise and singing, music, dancing, and prayer! (Prayer – to supplicate the father; Prayer – to thank the father!)…so much prayer!

One thing I’ve noticed, when I’m taking the time to be grateful, I’m more aware of the world around me. I’m not taking it for granted. I’m listening better, observing more clearly. And, when I’m doing this, it is impossible not to be grateful – even for the ugly things. For it is the ugly things that make the beautiful things even more amazing.

So…be happy; be grateful. Be grateful; be happy!

I hope you have a good Thanksgiving. I have really enjoyed doing this scripture study series. I have learned a lot about thanksgiving and happiness. I’m grateful for the love I experience, daily, from my Heavenly Father. I’m grateful for the mercy and blessings He gives me.

What are you grateful for? What are some of the lessons you’ve learned as you’ve studied Joy and Thanksgiving?

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