Each year, at Christmas, I introduce a theme for the following year. I am not a fan of making new year's resolutions. Instead, I choose a value, or a virtue, an area in which I feel the need to grow, or change. During the Christmas holiday, I decorate my home and tree with symbols, signs, and colors that get me thinking about the new theme. My Christmas cards are designed (I make my own) around the new theme, as are many of the gifts I choose. This year's card (click on images to see larger):Card Front: Inside of Card:
With the dawning of the new year, I begin to study and learn about my theme for the year. I continue focusing on this theme throughout the year. Last year's theme was peace. This year, I chose HOPE. As I look at the world around me, it's easy to feel despair. Life seldom gives us our own way, and joy sometimes seems far off, or only meant for others. In choosing to look for the beauty around me, in nature, myself and in others, I find hope. I choose to believe in the goodness of others, even if it's difficult to see sometimes. Love and hope counter anger and depression. It's in giving love that I find joy, happiness, patience, and empathy. I'm finding that I can make a difference, one person at a time.
I cannot always change someone's unhappiness or problems, or even my own, but I can always do a little. A smile or thoughtful gesture, a kind word, or a helping hand brings hope and love. I look for ways to bring these gifts to others. It costs nothing and is easy to do. And when someone takes the time to be kind to me, or smiles, it immediately makes me smile, and I want to pass that feeling along. Then an amazing thing happens....I start to feel better about myself, and find a renewed hope. My article http://hubpages.com/hub/KindnessandCompassion gives some ideas of ways we can bring blessings to others.
Baby steps. It's in living with hope, and doing what I can to share the message of hope whenever I can, a little at a time, that eventually makes a big difference.
As I start to research this subject, I'm finding so many resources. Of course, God has lots to say about hope in the Bible (Romans 5:3-5; 8:24-25;15:4-2; 2 Thes 2:16; 1 Peter 1:13; Col 1:5; Hebrews 6:18; Jer. 29:11. There are volumes of articles and books written about hope. Joyce Meyer often speaks about hope, and it is the thrust of her ministry, Enjoying Everyday Life. Here's the link to Joyce's website http://www.joycemeyer.org/ if you really want to be blessed.
I leave you with this scripture, which brings me comfort and encouragement:
For I know the plans I have for you
declares the Lord, plans to prosper you
and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.