A Happy New Year to everyone out there! And I genuinely do mean “A Happy New Year.” Let’s hope it’s a year in which we can all find happiness, peace, and joy in our lives.
The January Sales have now started. And that applies to parrots too! I’ve received glossy catalogues through the post offering absolutely everything that a parrot could ever dream of. (Well, almost). Parrot Christmas toy packs, now two thirds off; 20% off “Parrot Happy Snuggle Huts”; further reductions on parrot ladders, activity walls, preening plaits, foraging towers, parrot basketball sets, roller skates, and even “Parrot Café Lollipop Treats!” The glossy pictures make it all seem wonderful, and I’d love to order two of everything in a wild act of parrot self-indulgence! There are probably a thousand different products listed in those catalogues. But ultimately, would they do me any good? Would they win me any friends? Would having two of everything make me a better bird and bring me lasting happiness? What really matters in life?
I recently read an article by an American-based pastor called Ajai Prakesh. In it, he writes about extreme self-indulgence:
“In America, you can metaphysically and literally sell your soul and be rewarded for it.” And he goes on to look at how some humans become addicted to lust, instant pleasure, money, success and revenge. He comments that: “Material things have certainly taken on far more importance to many people than any considerations of eternity.”
And this reminded me of a comment once made by Marilyn Monroe:
“Hollywood is a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul.”
In life, there is so much to tempt us. We can be surrounded by things and systems which encourage us to think only of grabbing as much as we can for ourselves. To bring ourselves instant gratification, irrespective of the longer-term consequences. There are times when we can all fall into that trap. Which is why a brand New Year and a brand new decade can encourage us to make a fresh start. To draw a line under what’s gone before. So that we try to grow, to learn and to make better choices in the future. Because true and lasting joy doesn’t come from self-indulgence.
No, real, lasting “JOY” means putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself third.
So, Happy New Year everyone, and may this be a year full of real, lasting “JOY” for all of us!