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Blue Monday (Page 12)

As I write, a website is counting down, only three days till ‘Blue Monday’. I’m not referring to the song by New Order, but the third Monday of January dubbed ‘the most depressing day of the year.’ As you read this, you will have passed through this ominous event and hopefully re-appeared unscathed on the other side.

The date was originally devised in 2005 to help travel companies analyze when people would be most likely to book their summer holidays. It’s a mathematical formula that analyses factors like the weather, debt levels, proximity from Christmas and the dawning realisation we’ve failed to keep our resolutions yet again this year. I think anyone would want a holiday after all that.

The science behind ‘Blue Monday’ is a bit sketchy to say the least. I’m also a bit suspicious that most of the solutions seem to be commercially driven (they involve spending a lot of my money!). But the truth remains; this time of year can leave us feeling pretty low and lacking in motivation.

Now, I like a good holiday as much as the next man, but I’m not convinced it’s a long-term solution to ‘the blues.’ Holidays always come to an end, and ironically, that’s a bit depressing!

In church we’ve been considering if the antidote might lie elsewhere. Instead of making our new year’s resolutions about SELF– improvement and asking ‘What can I do about me?’ we’ve been challenging ourselves to ask a better question. Let’s make it about WORLD– improvement, i.e. “what can I do about the world around me.” Because we can all make a difference to someone’s world.

Why would that be an antidote? Well, on the same night that he knew he would be betrayed and abandoned (pretty depressing), Jesus stooped down and focused on the basic needs of others (washing feet). He declared, ‘Now that you know these things, you’ll be blessed if you do them.’ He was just demonstrating what he’d previously taught. “Whoever wants to save their life (for themselves) will lose it but whoever loses their life (spends it on others)… will save it.

Over Lent (Feb 10 – March 24) we’ll be trying to put this into practice by looking outwards instead of inwards and committing to living generously through simple acts of kindness for 40 days. Because nothing cheers me up more than putting a smile on someone else’s face. Give it a try. It’s God’s answer to the blues. You can find the link on our website www.godstonebc.org.

Rev Phil Hughes.