Usually when people think of joy, they think of merriment and pleasure, but mere happiness can be fleeting and easily countered by external factors. Joy is far more enduring and persists even in times of great difficulty. An attitude of gratitude as they say is the surest pathway to finding true joy. Get into the habit of counting your blessings.
Generosity, bonhomie and good cheer are hallmarks of Christmastime, but for some, it may take conscious and continuous effort to discover our wellspring of joy. But it can and will be found in aspects of life that we perhaps take for granted. In Trinidad and Tobago, over 650,000 persons have received free vaccinations which greatly reduce the likelihood of serious illness, hospitalisation and death from Covid-19, surely a godsend. Another cause for joy is that our democracy is alive and well, as demonstrated by the many liberties we enjoy and evidenced by the recent THA election. It is indeed a joyous state of affairs that our nationals, who were once stuck abroad, can now come home at will and that this Christmas, families are able to gather, albeit in limited number and in strict adherence to the protocols. Churchgoers are joyful that they can worship communally, even as they observe the rule of allowed capacity. Every Trinbagonian is familiar with the expression, ‘spreading joy’, a colloquial way of saying that joy multiplies when we extend it to others. When we find joy, let us be sure to share it generously and indiscriminately—it costs nothing but is an invaluable gift. Give of your time and attention, lend a helping hand, pay an unexpected compliment. Practise being alert, compassionate and supportive of others. Also spread joy by offering hospitality, no matter how humble your circumstances. Visit elderly relatives and residents of senior homes and from a safe distance, exchange greetings or parang the house. Call a family member or friend with whom you have not spoken for some time, especially if there is some tension between you. After all, Christmas is a season of restored relationship. Social media can be an ideal vehicle for spreading joy. In these 12 days of Christmas and into the New Year, as you post, saturate your words with wisdom and kindness, so that they refresh, empower and encourage your followers. In closing, I offer this old Celtic blessing:
“I pray that happiness be at your door. May it knock early, stay late and leave the gift of peace, love, joy and good health behind.” The staff of the Office of the President and I wish you a Merry Christmas and a bright and prosperous New Year!