PASTORAL LETTER FROM MARTIN LETTS DECEMBER 2021

Happiness

The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had why would we need more? How do you sell an anti-aging moisturiser? You make someone worrying about ageing. How do you get people to vote for a political party? You make them worry about immigration. How do you get them to buy insurance? By making them worry about everything. How do you get them to have plastic surgery? By highlighting their physical flaws. How do you get them to watch a TV show? By making them worry about missing out. How do you get them to buy a new Smartphone? By making them think they are being left behind.

To be calm becomes a kind of revolutionary act; to be happy with your own non-upgraded existence. To be comfortable with our messy human selves would not be good for business.

What makes people happy?

According to one list it is:

  1. Family and relationships. The happiest people spend time with those they love.
  2. Meaningful work. We are happiest when engaged in activities that make us forget ourselves and lose track of time.
  3. Positive thinking. Refuse to compare yourself with others.
  4. Gratitude.
  5. Forgiveness.
  6. Giving to others.

It’s interesting to see that having more money, a bigger house, bigger car, big holiday, latest item (be it a Smartphone or fashion icon) are not on the list.

So maybe we should work on these things listed above and we may all become happier. I must admit ‘Meaningful work’ was a surprise, perhaps it’s ‘Meaningful’ which is important. 

Of course Happiness is defined in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew chapter 5 the Bible defines it through the words of Jesus. The words differ from the list above but again there is no mention of more money, a bigger house, gadgets. And if you wish to check you will see lots of commonality between these two examples.

Have a Happy Christmas – in the true love of Jesus.

Martin

Circuit Steward

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