Read the Signs (Fourth Advent)

The birth of Jesus took place like this. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. Before they came to be married, Joseph discovered Mary was pregnant. Joseph, chagrined but noble, determined to take care of things quietly so Mary would not be disgraced. (Matthew 1: 18 – 19)

“This is what I believe to be true … You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you do, if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining”. That is the newly formed philosophy of Pat Solatano, the main character in the movie Silver Linings Playbook, which tells the story of a man suffering from bipolar disorder who is struggling to get his impulses and emotions under control. His doctor tells Pat that he might need a better strategy to handle his anger, but silver linings is the best tack Pat has to deal with the difficulties life throws at him. His search for positive signs leads him to a woman who struggles with her own demons, but who turns out to be an expert at reading the signs and seeing how to make a bad situation better.

Reading the signs is what Christians call the process of discernment. It is the time we take to recognise God’s presence in our lives and listen to where God might be calling us. The more practiced we become at reading the signs the more hopeful we are that all shall be well because God is with us. Feeling sure in the knowledge that God is with us: Now there’s a silver lining that belongs in everyone’s playbook.

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