Christmas Day 2020: Advent Calendar for Optimists
Merry Christmas - A Celebration of Optimism!!
St. John Henry Newman
"All our human feelings are soothed by Christmas"
"Christmas Day is the festival of optimism."
Melbourne Grammar's Chapel Choir Singing Once in Royal David's City
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."
His Eminence Archbishop Nikitas of the London Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
"As we approach the Great Feast of Christmas, also known as the nativity, the birth of Jesus Christ and the new year as well, I offer to our community and to the world of large, to each and every person, that which the church gives the message of hope. Let us look at the Great Feast of Christmas and celebrate. Some will be from a distance, others will be in the church. Some will be across the seas. No matter where you are, celebrate and rejoice for the message in the church is that Christ is born and give glory or glorify him. But, let us also look to the new year with hope and optimism. Solutions are being found to the problems, including those of the COVID-19 virus. Let us be hopeful that we'll return to the normal pace of life. Let smiles replace the frowns. Let laughter replaced the sorrow. Let joy come into the hearts of all people."
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."
Archbishop Mar Meelis Zaia AM, Metropolitan Assyrian Church of the East (Advent 2020)
"After experiencing a difficult and dark year burdened with trials and uncertainties, here we are coming to the end of 2020, preparing ourselves once more to celebrate the birth of Christ renewed with hope and optimism.
"The event of the birth of Christ over 2020 years ago was the bright light that pierced the dark night of Bethlehem enlightening the hearts and souls of those who awaited God’s salvation. He still, even today, is the light that shines in our hearts and gives us hope for peace and tranquillity."
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. "
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.’"
Robert Masters, Chair of The Centre for Optimism
"Christmas is the time of joy and goodwill towards your fellowman. It is a wish and desire that should be shared by everyone; that is my wish to you today!"
Dolly Parton on Her Optimism
Dolly Parton answering "How have you maintained your trademark optimism?"
"Just being grateful for the things that happen to me. I think that also came from my childhood—my grandfather was a preacher—just having God, faith, and all that instilled in us. But I like to make things happen if they're not happening. I like to get involved. So I like to think of myself as a Girl of Many Colors, not just a coat, because I have all kinds of moods and I experience them all. I think that's what makes a human being. People always say "You seem to always be so happy." But I'm not always happy. Nobody is happy all the time. I'm a very sensitive person. I'm a songwriter, so I have to live with my feelings on my sleeve. I have to not harden my heart, because I want to stay open to feel things. So when I hurt, I hurt all over. And when I cry, I cry real hard. And when I'm mad, I'm mad all over. I'm just a person; I like to experience whatever the feeling is and whatever I'm going through. But I have a good attitude. And I was born with a happy heart. I'm always looking for things to be better."
Bill Crews on Christmas
Francis McNab on Christmas
"This year you might be experiencing Christmas time through the lens of the well known carol experience. Bright-eyed children reenacting the birth of Jesus in a stable with sweet smelling fresh hay for a bed. Full of hope and joy. Or you might be experiencing it more like Mary did. Dark. Smelly. Messy and uncertain. Both experiences are real and both are shared. It’s in the honesty of recognising the weariness, the shared discomfort and pain that we are also able to share hope. Hope of change. Hope of community. Hope that we can stand alongside one another and offer love and grace. We might not see it in all it’s glory but we know that there is a hope coming. A hope that we can all take part in. A hope that connects and unites us with our own humanity. A hope that offers a way for us to connect and bring light to the world."
Archbishop Allen Vigneron
"We have confidence God is with us, he'll give us strength, he'll reinforce our optimism and turn it into hope."
"My message is that even in the trial there can be a grace, perhaps the grace of new bonds, the grace of finding a new way to connect with people. God's with us and he's never going away again,"
"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."
"May your Christmas be a day filled with gratitude optimism and love."
"I’m optimistic and dream of making things better and care.
"As humans we are so lucky because we already have so much but sadly our actions often take away more than they give.
"With 2021 almost here, let’s dream of making things better together. And by caring together our dreams will come true and nothing will stand in our way!
"Care to give more."
"Enlivened optimism that leads to action is such a basic foundation for us all to collaborate and create far better futures for us all - and not give in to the pandemic-like tsunamis causing mayhem."
“I had often called myself an optimist, to avoid the too evident blasphemy of pessimism. But all the optimism of the age had been false and disheartening for this reason, that it had always been trying to prove that we fit into the world. The Christian optimism is based on the fact that we do not fit into the world… The modern philosopher had told me again and again that I was in the right place, and I had still felt depressed even in acquiescence. But I had heard that I was in the wrong place, and my soul sang for joy, like a bird in spring… I knew now why grass had always seemed to me as queer as the green beard of a giant, and why I could feel homesick at home.”
Luke 2:1-7 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
"We Need a Little Christmas"
"The Christmas Chronicles"
Activity for Today: Try "The Habits of an Optimist"
The "Habits of the Optimist" is one of the most popular part of our workshops on Optimism and Optimistic Leadership.
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.
Another Activity: Candle Meditation
Pauline McKinnon, Stillness Meditation Therapy Centre
Christmas is here again, a time to be together, rejoicing in this time of community celebration. Traditionally, Advent Candles are lit in sequence in the weeks prior to Christmas Day, symbolising hope, love, joy and peace. As the origin of Christmas teaches simply, profoundly and beautifully the hope of peace and goodwill to all, Christmas will undoubtedly be a time of great celebration in 2020.
What a great idea it might be to light your own reflective candle and sit with it quietly as a reminder of the message within those beautiful ideals. And as candles symbolise light within darkness, this time can also be a powerful reminder that, most importantly, darkness of any kind is necessary in life if we are gently and gradually enabled to find the joy of healing light.
Optimistic Plants and Flowers for 2021
The Sunflower. The Red Maranta Prayer Plant
"I have always loved sunflowers. My mother-in-law used to give each of us a seed to care for each year to see who could grow the tallest sunflower. Every day we each tended our precious gift, excited and hopeful. Our focus was always rewarded as the flower burst through the shell and stretched ever closer to the sun, first smiling up at us and then smiling down on us as it grew. Our sunflowers served as a reminder of the value of care and the gift of hope and the joy of basking in the smiling and brightly shining sun.
"I have sunflowers all around my home and they always make me smile."
Rising Orange - 2021 Sensient Color of the Year
As you know, The Centre for Optimism's colours are the optimistic oranges and yellow. We're delighted to see Sensient Colors 2021 Color of the Year will be “Rising Orange”, which "takes refuge in nature and symbolizes the shade of a new day, weathered by the past, but optimistically rising bright for restoration."