I want to begin with a ‘thank you’ to everyone for the gift bag that was presented to me at the service on 20th December. Thank you very much for your thoughtfulness and appreciation for the various ways we have been able to continue to worship as a church, even as we have been locked down in our homes. These many months of separation and isolation have been difficult and challenging for all of us. Thank you for your kind gifts. Aimee and I look forward to planting some new bulbs in the manse garden to brighten up our spring.
I recently saw an article in Newsweek magazine that caught my attention. It was written by Dr Laurie Santos, who is a professor of psychology at Yale University in the US. She teaches a very popular class on happiness and hosts a podcast called ‘The Happiness Lab’. It seems that she is considered to be an expert on the things that can make us happy.
I was interested to see that she has five suggestions that can contribute to our happiness.
Get Social – stay connected with people even if you have to do it using technology during lockdown
Give Thanks – write down three to five things that you’re grateful for at the end of every day
Be In The Moment – don’t focus so much on the past or worry about the future, focus on the here and now – meditate on the present moment
Rest and Move – have a good balance between relaxing and staying active
Be Kind – think of and care for others
As I read the article I was struck by how many of these suggestions are central to the Christian life and are a part of what we share as a community of faith. There are many passages from the Bible that emphasise these very things. The following passage from Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians comes to mind:
12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labour among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-18
As we continue to navigate these troubling times, let us cling to our faith and to one another, that even more than happiness, we may find peace in the presence of God in our lives.
I conclude my message for this month with this prayer –
L – let me live knowing that I am loved.
O – let me not be overcome by fear.
C – let me keep connected.
K – let me know this too will pass.
D – let me do what I can for others.
O – let me be overjoyed whenever possible.
W – let me worry less.
N – let me know nothing separates me from you, Lord. Amen
Blessing and Peace,