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The Advent Calendar for Optimists 2020

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

This is our first Advent Calendar and we will add an entry each day of Advent 2020 with a relevant quotable quote and 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.

What is Advent?  Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed in most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas. Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year in Western Christianity.

Sunday 29 November 2020: Day 1

Quotable Quotes

Helen Keller

"Christmas Day is the festival of optimism."

I have been a lifelong optimist. Like most optimists, I have my share of grief and failure, but I always think that things will work out alright in the end.  (Victor Perton)

Rev Jack Stroman

On this first Sunday of Advent there is a new sense of hope, optimism, joy and love being unleashed upon us. There is a feeling of great expectation that something significant is about to happen as we sing together that great opening hymn of Advent: 

 “O Come thou long expected Jesus, born to set thy people free;  from our fears and sins release us, and let us find our rest in thee” 

Pastor Peter Ryan, First and Christ United Methodist Churches

"Today, our Advent “word” is hope. What is hope? To me, the word represents that which we long for. It’s a word of optimism. A word that says that while we may not be living in the best of circumstances right now, we believe in a better future. Somehow things will change. There will be a turnaround. Things will be set to right."

Holy Family of Bordeaux

This first Sunday of Advent speaks the language of hope. Advent forces us to face that serious question: what are we to do about our hopes, ideals and plans? We need Advent in order to be guided by Church prayer and biblical readings. Advent can restore the optimism, vitality and innocent joy of youthful hope.  It may be that God will use our sacrifices to shower blessings in another part of the world which we will never visit.

Bible Readings

Matthew 1:18-25: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

Bible Verses for Optimists and Optimism

Activity for Today: Smile Like an Optimist

Smile!  Smile at every person you meet and pass today.  Smile at yourself in the mirror.  Check that you are smiling on video too!

Never underestimate the power of a smile.  We know that smiling stimulates brain patterns which reinforce feelings of happiness and optimism. Smiling does so in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.  In short: our brain feels good and tells us to smile: we then smile: this then tells our brain it feels good and the cycle goes on!

Are you smiling now? Have you smiled at anyone today?

Some easy steps to smile more:

  1. Smile the moment you wake up
  2. Remind yourself in the morning that you are going to smile more today
  3. Think about a situation or event that brings you joy
  4. Practice smiling in the mirror
  5. Smile at everyone you see
  6. Become comfortable with smiling and recognise the benefits that smiling brings you

Smile Like an Optimist

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."

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.’"

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."

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."

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."

The Optimist's Advent Calendar Continues

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