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A Fact About Religion (Finally!)

According to Time magazine:  “Scientists have found, again and again, that those with a spiritual practice or who follow religious beliefs tend to be happier than those who don’t.  Study after study has found that religious people tend to be less depressed and less anxious than nonbelievers, better able to handle the vicissitudes of life than nonbelievers.  A 2015 study … found that participating in a religious organization was the only social activity associated with sustained happiness…. It’s as if a sense of spirituality and an active, social religious practice were an effective vaccine against the virus of unhappiness.” 

 

This is not religious propaganda.  This research was conducted by scientists who were interested in determining what made people happy – it is unbiased, fact-checked, and peer-reviewed prior to publication. 

 

If you would like to increase your overall happiness, December is a great time to connect spiritually.  This year, the first day of Hanukah falls on Christmas day.  But any spiritual activity or religion that promotes love, peace, and compassion leads to increased happiness … happiness is not the sole province of any single religion. 

 

One of the greatest works of literature in the English language is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  It is beautifully written and contains so many wonderful lessons it is impossible to summarize them.  A few gems to inspire you:

 

On life:

“’It is required of every man,’ the Ghost returned, ‘that the spirit within him walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes forth not in life, it is condemned to do so after death … and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness.   …. My spirit never roved beyond the narrow limits of our money-changing hole; and weary journeys lie before me. ….  Not to know that any Christian spirit working kindly in its little sphere, whatever it may be, will find its mortal life too short for its vast means of usefulness.  Not to know that no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused!  Yet such was I!  Oh!  such was I!’”

 

On being a boss:

“He [Scrooge’s former boss, Fezziwig] has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil. Say that his power lies in words and looks; in things so slight and insignificant that it is impossible to add and count ‘em up; what then?  The happiness he gives, is quite as great as if it cost a fortune.” 

 

On the future of humankind:

“This boy is ignorance.  This girl is want.  Beware them both, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.” 

 

On death:

“He thought, if this man could be raised up now, what would be his foremost thoughts?  Avarice, hard-dealing, griping cares?  They have led him to a rich end, truly!  He lay, in the dark empty house, with not a man, a woman, or a child, to say that he was kind to me in this or that, and for the memory of one kind word I will be kind to him.” 

 

On walking the street: 

“Scrooge regarded everyone with a delighted smile.  He looked so irresistibly pleasant, in a word, that three or four good-humored fellows said ‘Good morning, sir!  A merry Christmas to you!’  And Scrooge said often afterwards, that of all the blithe sounds he had ever heard, those were the blithest in his ears.” 

 

On an aspirational goal:

Scrooge “became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world.”

 

On everything else:

“God bless Us, Every One!” – Tiny Tim