Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Make Up Your Mind to Be Happy"

For too many people, especially in our prosperous society, the euphoria of a Christmas celebration centered not on Christ but on consumerism often gives way to gnawing discontent, disappointment, and depression.

These, in turn, lead some to resolve to change their thinking and its consequent behavior in the new year.

Jesus taught that "where your treasure is, there will your heart be also," and cautioned His disciples that they could not serve two masters, God and money. Inevitably one must take precedence over the other.

Reminding us of God's love, He exhorted: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you."

* * * * *

Robert Louis Stevenson died at 44 years of age. For most of those 44 years, Stevenson endured poor health and a great deal of physical suffering.

Yet he bequeathed to succeeding generations a literary legacy that has lifted our spirits and enriched our souls.

Many years ago I encountered a brief paragraph penned by Stevenson, summarizing his thoughts on happiness, and was moved to copy and frame his words.

As 2009 winds to a close, may I share them with you?
"Make up your mind to be happy. Learn to find pleasure in simple things. Make the best of your circumstances. No one has everything, and everyone has something of sorrow intermingled with gladness of life. The trick is to make the laughter outweigh the tears.

Don't take yourself too seriously. Don't think that somehow you should be protected from misfortune that befalls other people. You can't please everybody. Don't let criticism worry you. Don't let your neighbor set your standards. Be yourself.

Do the things you enjoy doing but stay out of debt. Never borrow trouble. Imaginary things are harder to bear than real ones.

Since hate poisons the soul, do not cherish jealousy, enmity, grudges. Avoid people who make you unhappy.

Have many interests. If you can't travel, read about new places. Don't hold post-mortems. Don't spend your time brooding over sorrows or mistakes. Don't be one who never gets over things. Do what you can for those less fortunate than yourself."

I wish you a blessed, truly Merry Christmas.

And I wish you a Happy, truly prosperous New Year.

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