Expressing gratitude brings us humility. In a world where we have been given so much and might be severely tempted to pride, gratitude stands as a barrier, for one cannot feel pride and gratitude at the same time. I cannot think of a time when I feel closer to our Father in Heaven or more loved by Him than in those precious moments when, overcome with the abundance of His mercy, I enumerate His blessings and thank Him specifically for all I have received.
I recall once standing on the edge of Bryce Canyon in southern Utah, taking in the grandeur and unique beauty of its many pink, white, and orange sentinels of stone, and being overcome with gratitude for the beauties of the Creation. A verse from the Doctrine and Covenants came to mind: “It pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man” (D&C 59:20). So much of His creation was designed to “please the eye and to gladden the heart … and to enliven the soul” (D&C 59:18–19). As I looked over that spectacular canyon, the thought struck me, “How great must be our Father in Heaven to provide such wonders for us to enjoy.” I felt my heart turn from gratitude for things created to adoration of the Creator. The sweetness of that moment returns each time we sing “How Great Thou Art” (Hymns, no. 86). This intensification of gratitude—from consideration of things given to adoration of the Giver—comes more frequently as I grow older and experience the wonders of the gospel in the life of my family; these times represent the most peaceful moments of my private devotions.