Today's meditation talks about a problem too often seen in our society - our own reactions to things beyond our control and how we go through life. Have you ever been around someone who is determined to see the absolute worst in people? Who will take the interpretation that would be most insulting, rather than the plain meaning of something said? Who can find the clouds on a sunny day, and amplify them by their attitude? It's hard, in the face of that, to maintain an upbeat and cheerful attitude, despite what life may be throwing at you.
Knowing that you can only change yourself, what can you do to help yourself maintain a positive outlook? There are quite a number of things:
- Pray. Pray with your whole being, not just talking about yourself, but remembering to listen as well. Use the acronym: P (Praise), R (Repent), A (Ask), Y (Yield to God's will).
- Choose to be happy. Choose to be in environments and around people that increase your probability of happiness. If there's a choice that will lead toward more negativity, consciously choose the other one.
- Cultivate gratitude. Make it a daily exercise to find five things in your day for which you are grateful. You'll soon see just how blessed you actually are.
- Foster forgiveness. Hanging onto anger is poisonous to ourselves. You don't have to forget someone's actions, but forgiving them and allowing God to deal with their consequences will ease your own burdens.
- Actively counteract negative thoughts and feelings. Prayer, meditation, exercise, rhythmic breathing, yoga, or relaxation techniques to quell anxiety and promote serenity are all methods that can contribute to that.
- Foster friendships. Be a good friend - not just over social media, but actually in person. Remember that hugs keep you healthy.
- Engage in meaningful activities. Find fulfillment in your vocation or avocations by actively contributing to society. Volunteer, help those less fortunate, develop skills that will help you do that more easily, teach others skills that can help them improve their own lot in life.
Fun Things for Advent
Make a Birth Announcement! When a family welcomes a new baby, they often send a birth announcement to friends and family. Children can celebrate the birth of Jesus like this as well. Have children work together to create a birth announcement for Jesus – complete with a footprint from a baby in the nursery, with the consent of the infant's parents. Make two copies per child – one to keep and one to share to spread the news of Jesus’ birth.