In case you missed it: President Nelson humbled by #GiveThanks response, Elder Christofferson gives Thanksgiving missionary devotional

During the week of Nov. 23-29, the First Presidency released its 2020 Christmas message, President Russell M. Nelson thanked those who posted on social media to #GiveThanks, Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Sister Kathy Christofferson spoke in a Thanksgiving devotional for missionaries, and ground was broken for the Antofagasta Chile Temple.

As members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders shared #GiveThanks posts throughout the week, the Church News podcast featured a historical look at President Nelson’s message on gratitude.

The Church News revisited the 55-year history of Christmas lights on Temple Square, and the Primary general presidency gave 26 ideas for children to #LightTheWorld this season. To coincide with the start of college basketball season, the Church News published articles on Latter-day Saint head coaches Mark Pope and Mark Madsen.

Here are summaries and links to those nine articles below:

1. President Nelson ‘humbled, grateful’ by #GiveThanks response

President Russell M. Nelson thanked those who responded to his invitation to #GiveThanks and invited all to continue to show gratitude and #LightTheWorld this Christmas season.
President Russell M. Nelson thanked those who responded to his invitation to #GiveThanks and invited all to continue to show gratitude and #LightTheWorld this Christmas season. Credit: Russell M. Nelson Instagram

In messages posted on social media Sunday, Nov. 29, President Russell M. Nelson expressed gratitude to all who responded to his Nov. 20 invitation to #GiveThanks.

President Nelson asked, “as we enter the Christmas season and celebrate the living Christ,” that Latter-day Saints and others show gratitude by serving others. “Let us follow His example to ‘Light the World’ by loving and serving others, one by one. #GiveThanks #LightTheWorld

Read more from President Nelson’s social media post

2. First Presidency Christmas message

Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018.
Thousands take in the colors as the lights are turned on at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The First Presidency — President Russell M. NelsonPresident Dallin H. Oaks and President Henry B. Eyring — released a message on Friday, Nov. 27, inviting all to seek and share the true spirit of Christmas this season.

Read the First Presidency’s 2020 Christmas message

3. Elder and Sister Christofferson speak in Thanksgiving devotional for missionaries

Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks with his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, during a worldwide missionary devotional. Shared with full-time missionaries, the devotional was taped in Salt Lake City at headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and streamed on Nov. 26, 2020.
Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles speaks with his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, during a worldwide missionary devotional. Shared with full-time missionaries, the devotional was taped in Salt Lake City at headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and streamed on Nov. 26, 2020. Credit: Screenshot

In association with the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, full-time missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worldwide joined Elder D. Todd Christofferson and his wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, to view the blessings of the Restoration through the lens of gratitude.

In a Thursday, Nov. 26, devotional streamed over the online missionary portal, the Christoffersons asked the question: “What is one aspect of the Restoration that you are grateful for — and why?” The hour-long session included video clips of missionaries answering that question, along with commentary and insights from Elder and Sister Christofferson.

What missionaries said about gratitude for the Restoration

4. Church leaders respond to invitation to #GiveThanks

Elder Quentin L. Cook, right, and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, on their wedding day in 1962. Elder Cook shared this photo in a #GiveThanks Facebook post on Nov. 22, 2020, in honor of their upcoming 58th wedding anniversary.
Elder Quentin L. Cook, right, and his wife, Sister Mary Cook, on their wedding day in 1962. Elder Cook shared this photo in a #GiveThanks Facebook post on Nov. 22, 2020, in honor of their upcoming 58th wedding anniversary. Credit: Quentin L. Cook Facebook

President Russell M. Nelson’s message on the healing power of gratitude has reached millions worldwide since it was released on  YouTubeFacebook  and ChurchofJesusChrist.org on Friday, Nov. 20. Hundreds of thousands have acted on his invitation to post on social media using #GiveThanks

Since then, President Nelson, members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and other Church leaders have posted on social media using #GiveThanks.

Read excerpts from Church leaders’ #GiveThanks posts

5. Sarah Jane Weaver interviews historian Richard E. Turley Jr.

In Episode 6 of the Church News podcast, Richard E. Turley Jr. gives a historical perspective on President Russell M. Nelson's #GiveThanks message and other prophetic invitations.
In Episode 6 of the Church News podcast, Richard E. Turley Jr. gives a historical perspective on President Russell M. Nelson’s #GiveThanks message and other prophetic invitations. Credit: Screenshot

President Nelson issued a historic invitation to the world on Friday, Nov. 20. The “fast-acting, long-lasting spiritual remedy” — during this time defined by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, racism, violence, political tensions and a lack of civility — is gratitude.

On this podcast, historian Richard E. Turley Jr. reflects on this and other prophetic invitations. Most interesting to Turley is that at a time in history when a disease has brought the world to its knees, the President of the Church is a renowned medical doctor.

Listen to Richard Turley explain why President Nelson’s invitation was so unique

6. How children can #LightTheWorld this season

Loris Orton of North Ogden and her children volunteer at the peach orchard in northern Utah on Tuesday, August 25, 2020.
Loris Orton of North Ogden and her children volunteer at the peach orchard in northern Utah on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The Primary general presidency is inviting Latter-day Saint children and their families to “light the world” this Christmas season.

“I am grateful to begin another Christmas season with our united focus to ‘light the world,’” said Primary General President Joy D. Jones. “It is a season of loving and giving as we follow the example of our Savior. We will receive inspired guidance as we sincerely seek to hear Him.”

Here is a list of 26 ways children can #LightTheWorld

7. Constructions begins on Antofagasta Chile Temple

Elder Juan Pablo Villar, center, and Sister Carola Villar, join others in turning ceremonial shovels of dirt during the Nov. 27 groundbreaking ceremony for the future Antofagasta Chile Temple.
Elder Juan Pablo Villar, center, and Sister Carola Villar, join others in turning ceremonial shovels of dirt during the Nov. 27 groundbreaking ceremony for the future Antofagasta Chile Temple. Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Shortly before COVID-19 took a sobering grip upon the Americas, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles offered prophetic council to Chilean Latter-day Saints. “While moments of heartache are inevitable, even in the midst of those difficult times, God watches over you,” he said during a Feb. 16 member meeting broadcast across the South American nation.

Elder Uchtdorf’s promise of divine support was realized, in part, on Friday, Nov. 27, with the ceremonial groundbreaking signaling the beginning of construction of the Antofagasta Chile Temple.

Read more about the groundbreaking of Chile’s third temple

8. How the Christmas on Temple Square has changed over 55 years

Guests gather as the first night of Christmas lights are shown at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015.
Guests gather as the first night of Christmas lights are shown at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015. Credit: Chris Samuels, Deseret News

On Friday, Nov. 27, the lights blanketing the trees, shrubs and grounds of Temple Square were switched on for the 2020 Christmas season as they have been nearly every year for the past 55 years.

Although Christmas at Temple Square will be a little different this year — visitors must experience the displays from afar, either virtually or from the sidewalks due to COVID-19 and Salt Lake Temple renovations — the lights continue to be a beloved tradition.

Here’s a look back at the history of the lights on Temple Square

9. BYU’s Mark Pope and UVU’s Mark Madsen

BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope; UVU basketball head coach Mark Madsen
BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope; UVU basketball head coach Mark Madsen Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News; Jay Drowns, UVU Marketing

When the Church News caught up with Mark Madsen, the second-year UVU coach was preparing the Wolverines for a Wednesday, Nov. 25, game at Stanford University, his alma mater. Alas, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced a cancelation of the game a day before tip-off.

Along with fellow Latter-day Saint college head basketball coach, BYU’s Mark Pope, Madsen is hoping the 2020-2021 season is replete with memories not defined by an ongoing pandemic.

Here’s what Mark Pope and Mark Madsen hope for the 2020-2021 college basketball season