Advent Calendar for Optimists: Day 14
What is Advent? Advent is the beginning of the liturgical year in Christianity and is observed in most Christian denominations as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Christ at Christmas. Christmas is a celebration of optimism, faith and hope. Advent is the time of waiting and preparation for Christmas. It is a perfect time to spread optimism around you and restore your own optimism. As Helen Keller wrote, "Christmas Day is the festival of optimism.”
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."
"Optimism comes from life-experience."
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ.”
The "Habits of the Optimist" is one of the most popular parts of my workshops on Optimism.
Christmas Cake Recipe
Perfected by Fiona Merrylees
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
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
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.
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.
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
Music for Optimism
I Still Believe (Performed Live on "A Holly Dolly Christmas" TV Special)
Canticle of the Turning - Rory Cooney
"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by The Choir of King's College, Cambridge
Little Drummer Boy (African Tribal Version) - Alex Boye' ft. Genesis Choir
More Quotable Quotes for Advent
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."
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”
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 that we will never visit."
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."
Helen Keller: "Christmas Day is the festival of optimism."
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."
Amanda Noz: "The repeating traditions of Christmas make me optimistic. Making the same recipes as my Grandmothers and Great Aunties made creates a continuity that echos down through the decades. Eating Christmas lunch on the “good china”, bringing out the special tablecloth and serviettes and decorations, listening to Christmas music and connecting with friends and family, is all part of the magic of Christmas."
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!"
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."
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."
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."
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.
Some Celebrations and Advent Joy
Advent begins! Hope is present in Jesus. Invite Him in...Hope filled people have more joy, more optimism, more options, more endurance and more life!— Tim Smith (@timsmithsln) December 1, 2019
Advent: three matching readings;a prediction from Isaiah,a wish from Psalm 22 and a miracle from St.Mathew - Jesus feeding 5000; all denoting the OPTIMISM of Faith Hope and Charity Isiah 25 6-10, Ps 22:— focusonprayer (@focusonprayer1) December 1, 2020
and Mt 13: 29-37 Praise the Lord.
Consider how Mary, who belonged to an oppressed people under Roman rule, spoke out with holy optimism and blessed joy —St Oscar Romero, homily for 3rd Sunday of Advent, 1979. Read/listen to the whole homily at https://t.co/EtcDN6Hfrn #Advent #OscarRomero #Joy #Gaudete pic.twitter.com/QeinCnyQK5— The Romero Trust (@RomeroTrust) December 16, 2018