There is a special happiness and contentment that comes from putting others and their needs above your own. When you’re doing something kind for someone, it doesn’t just benefit them, it also benefits you. The happiness that comes through kind and caring and generous actions is not a light or frivolous satisfaction or pleasure; it’s a much deeper feeling of fulfillment. You are letting My Spirit of love into the world around you, into the lives of others, and into your own life.
If you're like most people today, you're used to moving fast and expecting quick results. The problem with that—or at least part of the problem—is that what was enough yesterday seldom seems to be enough today, and escalating personal expectations carry over to what you expect from other people and from life in general.
You struggle to keep pace with the world, but at the same time you can’t help that some things simply take time. Most problems at work or with your health or relationships can’t be solved with the click of a mouse or the push of a button.
I can give you peace that defies understanding,1 that calms storms, and that overcomes stress and worry. The storms may come and the waves may rise, you may be buffeted and besieged on all sides, but you will not sink, because I am the Master of the sea and everything is within My control.
I will continue to be with you always—through hills, across rivers, over mountains, through plains and meadows, through rain, sun, and wind, through heat and through cold. Through it all, I will love you, hold you, and help you. And you will learn and grow and experience new things, profound things, transformative things. You will come to know Me in a truly deep and personal way, and you will come to know and appreciate the gifts that I have for you—how bountiful, how perfect, and enduring they are.
The ability to look on the bright side is a gift. It enhances your happy times and makes the difficult times more bearable. It's the gateway to greater joy, which is one of the many treasures you found when you found Me. Love, faith, peace, joy—these and many more are My gifts to sustain and inspire you.
I want you to partake of My full joy,1 but there is something you must do before this can happen: You must accept who and what you are and believe that you were created this way for a wonderful purpose, that you were endowed with a unique set of gifts, talents, and attributes that will help you find and fill the special place in this world that only you can fill.
I don't love you for what you are or what you aren't. I don't love you for who you are. I don't love you for how much you do or how well you do it. I don't love you for how little you sin and mess up, or for how much you do the right thing. I simply love you—no strings attached. That truth may be hard to grasp, but once you do, everything in your life will take on new meaning and new depth, a new reality. You are complete because you are loved. You are free because you are loved. You are able to love others truly because you are loved completely and unconditionally.
I didn’t decide to love you based on your love for Me or on what you do for Me. I loved you before there was any of that, before you took your first breath.
You need Me. You need what I have to give you. You need My strength, My love, My supply, My protection. I have all this for you and more. I am your life source, and because I am, your life can be wonderful, beautiful, rich, and filled with what I know will prove most important in the long run.
I will never leave you alone or comfortless. I will never leave you without guidance and direction. I will never leave you without grace and strength to fight life’s battles. I will never leave you without rest and renewal after those battles. I will always provide your needs. You don’t need to fear or be anxious because I, the One who loves you like no other can, have special plans for you.
The first Christmas was all for you. It was My Father’s gift of love to the world, but it was also His gift to you specifically. And it was a “gift that keeps on giving.”
For those who witnessed it firsthand—the star, the choir of angels, the baby in the manger—it was an unexpected and overwhelming spiritual experience. For the blessed few who recognized that baby as their Messiah, it was a dream come true. For them and the many millions since who have likewise believed, it has been the door to eternal life. And it’s the same today. If you celebrate Christmas in spirit and truth, the same wonder, the same promise, and the same unspeakable joy can all be yours.
Happiness of the spirit is far above happiness of the flesh, for happiness of the spirit is something that will always be there for you, even through the loneliest nights and the darkest times.
Happiness of the flesh is fleeting; it comes and goes with your circumstances and surroundings, with the things you see and feel and experience physically. But happiness of the spirit comes from knowing that I am your Savior and that I love and watch over you; those truths never change.
That age-old question is being asked less and less these days. Some people don’t ask because they’re so wrapped up in satisfying their material needs and desires that they never stop to consider their spiritual needs. Others don’t ask because they’re afraid they won’t like the answer. And some don’t ask because they don’t believe that there is an answer; their inborn hunger for truth has been dulled by the skepticism and notion of “relative morality” that pervade modern thought.
If you think you have troubles, consider My apostle Paul: He was whipped on five occasions and beaten with rods on another. He was stoned and left for dead. He was shipwrecked three times, and spent a night and a day in the deep. He went through perils at sea, perils in the wilderness, and perils in cities. He suffered at the hands of robbers, his own countrymen, strangers, and even those who wrongly thought they were acting for Me. He was imprisoned and deprived of basic needs many times.1