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Christmas Day 2021

Merry Christmas - A Celebration of Optimism!!

St. John Henry Newman

"All our human feelings are soothed by Christmas"

Helen Keller

"Christmas Day is the festival of optimism." 

Melbourne Grammar's Chapel Choir  Singing Once in Royal David's City

On Christmas Optimism

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!"

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."

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.’"

Gerald Ogle, Psychologist, CatholicCare Social Services

"What is normally a joyous time spent celebrating with friends and loved ones has in many instances been replaced with emotions such as fear, anxiety and loneliness.

"Many individuals may find their mental health under strain, having deteriorated as a result of all they have experienced this year. But despite these challenges, we can hope for better days, and, with mindful planning and preparation, approach this Christmas season filled with hope and optimism.  Indeed, this festive season can herald the advent of a new dawn for our mental well-being."

Sally-Ann Williams

"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."

Bill Crews on Christmas

Francis McNab on Christmas

Ivan Kaye

"May your Christmas be a day filled with gratitude optimism and love."

Joey Kennedy

"Christmas is a time for optimism. The New Year, a marker for self-evaluation and starting over and, with our resolutions, for looking forward."

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," 

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."

Dolly Parton on Her Optimism at Christmas

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."

G.K. Chesterton

“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.”

Michael McKenna

"Take the opportunity to show joy, hope and optimism. And have a merry Christmas."

Damien C. Kurek

"Christmas is a time to reflect on the hope and optimism in the birth of Jesus Christ."

Bible Reading

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. 

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."

Creative Advent Videos

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".

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."

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."

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."

Galen Holley

"Charles Dickens’ timeless novella, “A Christmas Carol,” has been brought to life in several cinematic incarnations. My favorite is the 1984 version with George C. Scott. Like all great literature, the story never gets old and its enduring truths are as applicable to life today as they were when Dickens penned the story in 1843.  It’s fitting that one of the central emotional figures in “A Christmas Carol” is a child, the loveable Tiny Tim. He represents a children’s everyman, a pure soul who never complains about his predicament but continually inspires those around him with his generous spirit and unwavering optimism."

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!"

Bishop Les Tomlinson (Christmas Message 2014)

"It is during difficult times that one can realize the set of values a child or person possesses. Children must be taught to stick by their values and principles no matter whether the situation is good or bad.

"In order to educate in the family, it is necessary to step out of ourselves and be with our young people, to accompany them in the stages of their growth and to set ourselves beside them.

"Give them hope and optimism for their journey in the world. Teach them to see the beauty and goodness of creation, but above all, with your own life, be witnesses of what you communicate.

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."

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."

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."

Josh Frydenberg, Treasurer of Australia

"While a number of comparable nations are facing renewed virus outbreaks and new lockdowns, Australians are approaching Christmas with optimism and hope."

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

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." 

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."

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."

Rev. Rodney Ragwan, Pastor of North Wales Baptist Church (Christmas 2020)

"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."

Dr Richard Munang's Adamant Optimism

We must, therefore become adamant optimists. With this, we can not only become solution providers, but we can do what I call stubborn opportunism and where we seize and turn difficulties into opportunities, we seize challenges and turn them into opportunities.

The world becomes a better place as we drive transformational change for people and planet. This is what makes me an optimist. This is what makes me an adamant optimist, and this is what makes me believe in stubborn opportunism.

All of us should become adamant optimists.

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

Neville Christie

"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."

Deepa Patel

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

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."

Some Optimism Advent Tweets

Heavenly Images

The European Space Agency

"even our planetary neighbors are getting into the spirit – as shown by this perfect pair of festive silhouettes spotted by ESA’s Mars Express. The defined wings of an angelic figure, complete with halo, can be seen sweeping up and off the top of the frame in this image from Mars Express’ High Resolution Stereo Camera, while a large heart sits just right of center. These shapes appear to jump out of the light tan — or, in the spirit of the season, eggnog-colored! — surface of Mars; their dark color is a result of the composition of the constituent dune fields, which largely comprise sands rich in dark, rock-forming minerals that are also found on Earth (namely pyroxene and olivine).

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