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The Advent Calendar for Optimists 2020

"Christmas Day is the festival of optimism." (Helen Keller)

There's a new entry each day with a relevant quotable quote for optimists, a bible verse and an activity.  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.  

Day 7 of the Optimists' Advent: Saturday 5 December 2020

Quotable Quote

"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."
Janine Kirk, Chair of Phoenix Australia

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

Bible Reading

Jeremiah 32:40-41: "I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and soul."

Bible Verses for Optimists and Optimism

Activity for Today: Use the Language of Optimism

If you can fit in an optimism word or phrase into any piece of writing, you will lift the reader. 

As Dr. KH Kim wrote, "Research has shown that you can develop your optimistic attitude by practicing positive speech and actions in everyday activities. Then, refine your outlook by taking a positive path forward in every circumstance.

You'll get the idea from the "sweet words of optimism resource" on this website.  

Susan Lewis“I feel as if I have indeed been given a gift; a sense of optimism, that I and others have the power, and responsibility, to make a difference.”

Jennifer Hermes Nastu, Content Director: "I feel a great sense of optimism. We can do this. We are doing this."

Zach Buckley: “The sweet nectar of unbridled optimism"

We also suggest you experiment with changing your greetings and your response to the question, "How are you?" (More tomorrow)


Christmas Recipe

Pfefferkuchen

Pfefferkuchen is a ginger honey-sweetened cake, biscuit or cookie which is a part of German and northern European Christmas traditions.  

1 ½ cups honey
1 ½ cups molasses (Some Canadian recipes substitute some maple syrup)
1 ½ cups dark brown sugar (any sugar will do)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground anise seed
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons grated lemon zest
½ cup butter, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons water
6 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 eggs
A little cognac or brandy to taste.

Method

In a large bowl, mix the flour, spices and baking soda. 

Bring butter, honey, molasses and sugar to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon till it cools enough for you to knead it.

Cover and let come to room temperature and leave for at least 2 hours.  If you are in a hot climate, pop it in the fridge but don’t leave it too long or it will get hard.  Some people wrap it plastic wrap to help make it managable.

You need to knead and work the dough.  Beat the eggs and water together in a bowl. Work this into the dough until it is soft and pliable.  You may have to add another egg or a little water.

Roll the dough to 1/4-inch thick on a well-floured surface and cut into shapes (generally round) and place on a baking tray on ungreased baking sheets.

Brush with milk or egg or a milk and egg mixture.

Bake biscuits in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees F) 8 to 10 minutes until light brown.  

Cool on a wire rack if you have one.  And start eating.  Some people ice them with cute Christmas patterns.

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.’"

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." 

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."


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