Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
When I was a junior in high school I was being a goof ball in Swing Choir class and wound up with a solo part in the fall show. I was a “choir” voice and never wanted to do the solo thing but it all just sort of happened. After that show, I started singing a lot. It was fun to discover a gift I didn’t know I had but when I went off to college two years later, I quickly discovered my gift was pretty small town. I remember going to audition for a spot on the music ministry team at the campus parish and I heard the first ten voices ahead of me and I quietly snuck out the back door because I didn’t have a fraction of the gift those folks did. It was a very humbling experience to say the least. I realized I had two choices. I could be jealous and pouty and wallow in self pity or I could go to mass each weekend and soak in those beautiful voices and be grateful for those who chose to share them. I went with the second choice!
Everybody knows you improve your skill when you work with someone who is a little bit better at something than you are. In education we call that scaffolding. We have to seek out those who do well, what we’d like to get better at. God’s kingdom isn’t going to advance much if we become better golfers, tennis players or cooks but it will advance if we become better disciples. Saturday, Pope Francis celebrated his 80th birthday and as a birthday tribute to him, one of the Advent prayer books I read each morning shared his “Secrets to Happiness”. When I find an article about Pope Francis I usually read it because he’s one of those folks who can make me a better disciple when I try to imitate what he does or practice what he teaches and inspires. Since happiness is something this world could use a little more of, I thought I’d share a few of the popes secrets to happiness.
*Play with children
*Spend Sunday with family.
*Look after nature. “We have to look after creation and we are not doing it. It is one of the greatest challenges we have.”
*Respect those who think differently.
*Help people find employment: “Bringing bread home is what gives you dignity.”
If I asked for your Christmas list, I’d be willing to bet many of you would mention the desire to be happy and healthy so these words come at a perfect time. Instead of waiting to “get happy” or “receive happiness” perhaps we need to create it ourselves and your gift this last week of Advent is 5 things you can do to make it happen. What would happen to our Christmas week if we decided in the midst of all of our last minute shopping, prepping, wrapping and nutty adventures to give the gift of happiness to everyone who crossed our path? I think it would be a great week. I’m gonna try really hard to live by that as we scramble to set up 7 Christmas trees on the Altar with the help of 20 twelve year olds…and when we hustle to paint and finish parent’s Christmas gifts and dive head first into the last week of school (mayhem) before Christmas break. I’m gonna do it! Happiness is the word for the week…who’s in?
A Seed To Plant: Pick one of the secrets from Pope Francis and add it to your week. Good luck and BE HAPPY!
Blessings on your day!