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At this time of the year when everyone can get very busy with Christmas preparations, end of year parties, shopping and the general rushing about we can start to feel and resemble the Grinch if we are not careful. Rather than enjoying the season and all that it can mean we can let go of our peace and lose our joy.

However contrary to “Grinch thinking” we all have the capacity within us to live a life filled with joy, and especially at this time of year. When our hearts are glad and cheerful it benefits our whole body, heart and mind. Medical research reveal that cheerful people have less heart attacks, healthier blood pressure, lower cholesterol, weight management, and decreased stress levels. These studies match what the bible says in that, “a cheerful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 15:15)

In studies reported by the Journal of Positive Psychology researchers discovered that subjects were able to control feelings of happiness by simply trying to become happier and using the right methods to encourage it; the key is to look within and discover those things that make us cheerful. It doesn’t need to be big or flashy like the latest new car or an overflowing bank account, but just for us to regularly look into our hearts and discover the wonderful opportunities for joy in a relationship with Jesus and the amazing things all around us.

Today and especially as Christmas draws near choose joy and look for those things that bring a smile to your face and lift your heart. Things like to:

Try something new

Spend time with loved ones

Do something out of the ordinary

Slow down and enjoy your food, a good cuppa, and the great outdoors

Put on some uplifting music

Give of your time, talent, and energy

Encourage someone

When practiced in the long term these small joys both internally and externally are powerful enough to create and cultivate cheerfulness in our lives and make us feel more generous, friendlier and healthier.

Choose to cultivate cheerfulness and you will soon cast off any Grinchiness this Christmas.

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” (2 John 1:12)

You make known to me the path of life;you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)

Prayer: Lord help me to be more aware of those things that bring me joy, and that I would centre in on them and give more time in my day to those things that bring joy. In Jesus name Amen.