The power of love is bright and beautiful and evergreen. Embrace love and share it generously with others.
“Love you!” Whenever my friend, Debbie, drives by while I’m out walking, she honks the horn, rolls down her car window, and with a beautiful smile, joyfully calls out to me, “Love you!”
Those two simple, happy words always make my day. It’s easy in this age of negative 24/7 news, angry social media posts and polarizing perspectives to fall into the belief that we can’t do anything to positively affect the world.
But Debbie knows better. With one “Love you!” after another, she is doing something powerful and transformative: she is spreading love.
When fear, worry, and differences distract us, we would all benefit from gratefully receiving and generously spreading God’s love. When we focus on being kind, respectful, compassionate and loving, we take positive action that sends ripples of positivity. Our thoughts, words and actions make a difference.
Today: Spread God’s love. “Let all you do be done in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:14
It's that glorious time of year when we lift our hearts and minds and voices in joy. Joy, however, isn’t limited to Christmastime.
Thich Nhat Hanh, the famous Vietnamese monk and peace activist, cautions us about mistaking joy as something that happens spontaneously or only seasonally. He says that joy must be cultivated, it must be practiced all of the time if it’s to grow. He suggests that we each have the ability to “cultivate peace and joy in ourselves, which we can then offer to those around us.” Every day all year long, there is the opportunity to cultivate joy.
When you view your life as a blessing and when you receive and give love openly, you tend to feel happier, to feel more joyful. And the great thing is that happiness and joy don't just stay inside of you. Their good energy exudes from you and spreads naturally to others.
You don't need a lot of money, a new car, a fancy house, fashionable clothes or the latest gadget to experience and share joy. Most often, our greatest joys come from our small, ordinary moments.
Today: Cultivate joy and then share it with others.
My late mom, Barb Naidl, loved working with her hands and she had a talent for it. If she wasn’t making her lovely red felt cardinal ornaments, she was coming up with some other creative idea.
One year, she hand-sewed small square pillows filled with homemade potpourri. On one side of each pillow, she wrote a word. On mine, she wrote “peace.” Whenever I run my fingers over her handwriting on that small pillow, I feel a calm in my heart as if Mom is passing the sign of peace to me.
Life can be a rather stressful experience at times. We may feel downhearted, exhausted, spent, isolated. It’s in those moments when I think about my loving mom’s gift—her handwritten message to me about peace. I think about how I might make room for peace in my heart when the days feel hard, and how I might pass that peace along to others so that they, too, may experience it and pass it along.
Today: Feel peace, live peace, pass peace on. “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.”
My dear friend, Mary, writes eloquent letters to me in beautiful penmanship. In one of those keepsake letters, Mary wrote about the popular Johnny Mercer song from the 1940s, Accentuate the Positive. She reminded me to keep going, to remain hopeful.
Her words helped me to carry on during a challenging time in my life. It's not always easy to be hopeful or optimistic, especially when life dishes out painful, difficult moments.
It seems as if those times become magnified during the Christmas season when all is supposed to be “merry.” We all know those who are experiencing illness or are caring for a loved one. We know those who are suffering from the loss of a spouse or parent or child. We know those who are dealing with unwelcome work changes or carrying the burden of a financial crisis.
It’s during those heavy times when this season of Advent is even more important because it is the season of hope. As we approach the winter solstice, the longest night of the year, remember those who are experiencing their own longest nights. Lift them up with the wings of hope.
Today: Be a source of hope for someone.