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Advent Calendar for Optimists: Saturday 12 December 2020

In the Centre for Optimism's Advent Calendar, there's a new entry each day with a quotable quotes for optimists, bible verses for optimists in Advent and an activity.  Somedays there music and recipes too.  You may get your daily Advent reminder by email or whatsapp message or social media - email advent@centreforoptimism.com and let us know how you would like to receive it.  

Quotable Quotes

Patrick Bench, Benchmark Strategies

"Staying optimistic isn't a switch you flip and you're optimistic for the rest of the week, the rest of the month, the rest of the year. It's an every day, it's like working out."

Elysia Rodriguez

"Optimism comes from life-experience"

Bible Readings

Philippians 4:13  “I can do all things through Christ”

Bible Verses for Optimists and Optimism

Recipe for Today: Christmas Cake Recipe 

Perfected by Fiona Merrylees

INGREDIENTS

2 ¼ cups (375g) sultanas

1 ½ cups (250g chopped raisins 

1 ½ cups (250g) currants 

½ cup mixed peel

¾ cup halved glacé cherries

¼ cup chopped dates

¼ cup chopped dried apricots  

250g butter

1 cup brown sugar firmly packed

½ cup brandy

½ cup water

5 eggs lightly beaten 

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

1 ¾ cups plain flour

1/3 cup self raising flour

½ teaspoon bicarb soda

METHOD

  1. Combine fruit, butter, sugar, brandy and water in a saucepan. Stir constantly over heat without boiling until sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, simmer covered for 10 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. 

  2. Grease a deep 23cm round (or deep 19cm square) cake pan, line base and side with 2 thicknesses paper (brown paper and baking paper), bringing paper 5cm above edge of pan. 

  3. Add eggs, golden syrup and rinds to fruit mixture, stir until combined. Stir in sifted dry ingredients. Spread mixture evenly into prepared pan. If desired decorate with glacé cherries and blanched almonds or pecans. Bake in a slow oven for about 2 ½ hours. Cover cake with foil and cool in pan. 

I wrap the cake (still in the tin) in a towel and let it cool overnight. Then remove from tin and re-wrap in fresh baking paper and foil and store in air tight container.

Cake keeps for 3 months and can be used as a Wedding cake. 

I always double the recipe and make two. One for us and one for a friend

Activity for Today: Try "The Habits of an Optimist"

The "Habits of the Optimist" is one of the most popular part of my workshops on Optimism.

Through a magic animation, it's now an online course and available for free.  It can take between 50 minutes and 50 years to complete.

Creative Advent Videos

On Advent Optimism

Most Reverend José H. Gomez,  Archbishop of Los Angeles

"Above all, let us try to make Christ present in the hearts and lives of others. Yes, we have to be, each one of us has to be a source of hope and optimism for other people. What a beautiful Advent and what a beautiful Christmas we will have if we really have the joy of knowing that we are disciples of Jesus Christ who came to save us and to make us happy. "

Rev Kenneth Padley

"Hope is optimism. Hope is certainty. And hope is engagement. That is why we hope with expectation of the future, trust in Christ, and patience in waiting. Christian hope is bigger and better than we can begin to conceive. But in Advent, the season of hope, we come close to catching a glimpse."

Rev. Dr. J. Barrington Bates

"Jesus showed an unquenchable, confident optimism—even in seemingly dire situations. And he commanded us not to fear, but live in hope."

St Michaels with St Marys in St Albans  The Advent Wreath on Tour 2020 at Prae Wood School

Fr Dave Austin osa

"Advent opens us to the ‘refreshment’ and ‘renewal’ of the Christmas celebration – two more ‘Christmas words’ perhaps, expressing God’s optimism for each of us in our human living and his gift of hopefulness that we so badly need. On this Gaudete Sunday, St Paul’s words from Philippians 4 should ring in our ears: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near.’"

Rev. Rodney Ragwan, Pastor of North Wales Baptist Church

"We embrace this advent season with a sense of hope and optimism. God is starting to allow for the normalcy of everyday living. We are at the cusp of the COVID-19 vaccine but more important is the hope of the Immanuel, God is with us. God is with us with or without the pandemic. God is with us whether we have to celebrate Christmas with family or alone. God is with us whether we can gather as church communities or worship virtually. God will turn our pain for the good, our despair into optimism, and our worry into calm."

William Willimon

"For some, Christ's [second] coming is terrifying. Old verities give way at his arrival. Those who make their living by the status quo do not rejoice when the status quo is threatened. Caesar trembles, empires topple, and the earth shakes. For those tied to the old age and its gods, its armies, its delusions of immortality, its false securities, the arrival of the Son of Man is bad news. `Apocalypse now,' cry the prophets of doom. Let us put away these prophets, close our eyes and speak optimistically of tomorrow. But those who have watched, who have heeded the signs, who have never made peace with the status quo, who have lived as if there were no tomorrow prick up their ears, straighten, stand on tiptoes. The Anointed One comes, their redemption is near and the world's doom becomes their deliverance".

Thomas Merton

"The certainty of Christian hope lies beyond passion and beyond knowledge. Therefore we must sometimes expect our hope to come in conflict with darkness, desperation and ignorance. Therefore, too, we must remember that Christian optimism is not a perpetual sense of euphoria, an indefectible comfort in whose presence neither anguish nor tragedy can possibly exist. We must not strive to maintain a climate of optimism by the mere suppression of tragic realities. Christian optimism lies in a hope of victory that transcends all tragedy: a victory in which we pass beyond tragedy to glory with Christ crucified and risen."

Monsignor Sabino Vengco Jr.

"Our present life is a matter of what is still to come. At no point is it everything already, nor is everything there. Our life is about birth, growth, and maturation; there is even fullness expected in the end of life, in death, into what is eternal. There are depths and dimensions in one’s life and in the world at large still to be discovered and explored, forces to be unlocked so that life can be brought to its full potential. Creation is in progress and its plenitude and completeness are waiting: an optimism that is an essential component of Christian faith."

ADVENT REFLECTIONS 2019 Notre Dame Catholic Church Kerrville, Texas

"God imbued us with some innate desire to look to the morning sun, to find optimism in the new leaf, and through it all to know that He loves us and will never abandon us."

The Very Reverend Dr James Rigney

"John the Baptist blends simple moral instruction on how to live in this climate of expectation, with words about the coming of the more powerful one. John is the route to Advent optimism."

Billy Graham, Evangelist 

"I am an optimist not because I blindly hope - all evidence to the contrary - that somehow everything will work out all right. Nor am I an optimist because I believe in man's unlimited ability to solve his problems. I am an optimist ultimately because I believe in God." 

Robert Masters, LFPRIA, Chairman of The Centre for Optimism

"The Joy of Christmas is much more than that.  One of the best things about Christmas is the joy it brings to people. In fact, it is as intrinsically linked with Christmas as love, giving gifts, decorating, shopping, and eating good food. Yet, it is more than that… come to think about it, it is the spirit of being optimistic. And when we look at an optimistic spirit, we know that scientifically the benefits extend beyond joy to happiness, active longevity, better health - including lower risks of cardiovascular disease - better sleep, greater resilience, stronger relationships and increased self-mastery. So, this Christmas I encourage you to extend that optimistic spirit to each day of your life and to spread it around - the world needs it. Merry Christmas!"

Creede Hinshaw

"I began thinking about children and waiting. I first concluded that children know nothing about how to wait. But after further reflection, there is another side to this. Children have to wait for almost everything. Accompanying that waiting, at least in terms of their birthday parties and Christmas, is a sense of sheer excitement and eagerness. That unbridled optimism and expectation is often missing once we become adults. Children have much to teach us about eager expectation. As adults it is too easy to grow cynical, jaded or resigned.  One of the Advent themes is that of waiting. But not just waiting for any old thing. The Christian is awaiting the redemption of the world, the coming again into the world of the One born in a manger. Advent is a season to heighten, sharpen and restore that sense of expectation."


Janine Kirk, Chair of Phoenix Australia

"Without faith we have nothing, without hope there is nothing and without love we are nothing. Optimistic leaders create the conditions where faith, hope and love can thrive."

Read more Wisdom on Optimism, Religion, Spirituality, Faith and Hope

Jeff Kerr-Bell

"Putting up and dressing the Christmas tree each year with my wife and sons fills me with optimism. As I reflect on the decorations collected each Christmas, I am reminded of life’s joys and challenges, and how both myself and our family have accepted and overcome them, and are better for them. Given 2020 has been an extremely challenging year for all including me, I am grateful for the people I am surrounded by and the connections and learning I have gained that launch me optimistically into 2021. Be realistically optimistic!"

Jack Quirk

"It is of the essence of the Christian faith that good will triumph over evil. This is the promise of Advent. This is the promise of the Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom which, unlike the nation, will not pass away."

Deepa Patel

"Wherever there's optimism, it feels like there is a spontaneous flow of love."

Darlene Zschech 

"As we journey this advent season my heart has never been more aware of the ache, disappointment and turmoil of the soul that many are finding overwhelming as we continually navigate this crazy stretching year. In the face of this, the prayer in my spirit cries out these three words continually: “legacy”, “territory” and “authority”. I’m reminded once more of the power of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. This power invites us to be bringers and carriers of hope, shining like pure light in dark places and announcing joy that defies all circumstances."

Australia's Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC

"I'm an optimist by nature. So when I was going through my career, learning, as you do as a young officer, and then growing up and progressing through the ranks, I'm looking for the positive in situations. I'm looking for the positive in people."

Speaking to students yesterday in The Nelson Mandela Youth Leadership  Summit sponsored by The Centre forOptimism, The Governor-General said, "I will say what I got to say now, not because I'm dealing with the Center for Optimism. I have said it in many, many, many of my speeches as Governor-General and as Governor of New South Wales, that I'm an optimist by nature.


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