For the first day of Advent, here are 10 tips from Guideposts founder Norman Vincent Peale for experiencing spiritual growth during the Christmas season.
1. This is the month of the birth of Christ—the month for you to be reborn in His light. A person living in the path of Christ with full-sized effort cannot be other than deeply happy.
2. Say to yourself each night: “I shall think in terms of the happiness given me by God,” and every morning say, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
3. Try to go around spreading happiness, deliberately. But you may say, “I haven’t any to spread.” Spread it anyway. You will find if you spread happiness that you will have more to spread.
4. The Book of Proverbs says: “He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” This thought is on the basis of good sound mental health. But we grow bigger if we follow the Man who said: “My joy shall be in you.” “Rejoice, I say, and again I say, Rejoice.” When you open your heart to Him, he fills it with happiness.
5. Every day, before work, say simply and sincerely, “Dear Lord, I surrender my life to you. I open my heart to you, fill it with happiness.” And say it again when work is done.
6. The Bible says we are created just a little lower than the angels. But, too often we become little people—we do not like somebody or we get jealous. It is tragic. How attractive is the person of whom you can say: “He is a great soul, a square shooter, a real man.” How big are you?
7. God intended us to walk the earth as giants in spirit, forgiving, understanding, harmonious. And how is this accomplished? “Call upon Me and I will answer you and I will show you great and mighty things.” In this month of your soul’s rebirth, make that text your talisman.
8. Do not ever think yourself so old that you cannot become a far greater person. It is in the quiet unobserved, intimate field of daily experience where greatness is determined, where the battle is fought.
9. Christianity is the simple application of proven, workable, techniques and methods. Only through it can you reach your full destiny. Try each week to practice one of His directives.
10. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day say a special greeting of welcome to The Child and throw your renewed soul wide open to Him. It’s a happy birthday for the world, and a special happy birthday for the Inner You.
This story first appeared in the December 1948 edition of Guideposts.