WORLD HAPPINESS DAY
On 20 March 2020 World Happiness Day came and went with little joy in the air. Of course there was more important things going on in the world – the Coronavirus was spreading and lockdown had begun.
But the world happiness report published its findings for 2020 anyway, including who were the happiest countries and cities in the world.
After considering all the metrics apparently Finland is. And has been for the last three years. Food might be expensive out there, darkness might reign for most of the winter and they sit 23rd on the highest suicide rate list for 2020 – but apparently Finland and their capital city Helsinki is where the happiest people in the world live.
Incidentally, the UK are 13th in the rankings, and Afghanistan are last out of the 153 countries listed.
It’s an interesting report and got me thinking – if every human was ranked for happiness instead of countries – where do you think you’d be?
KEY INGREDIENTS FOR HAPPINESS
This short series is a little exploration into what makes us happy – and offers five key ingredients. But before offering you the menu, and tasting them for yourself – let me ask the inevitable question –
What makes you happy?
Maybe you’ve bought in to the idea that money and a big house will satisfy.
But probably – more realistically it’s close family, or good friends, or your children. It’s love in all it’s shape and sizes. It’s security and good health – it’s a satisfying job. The phycologist Jonathan Haidt in his famous book ‘The Happiness Hypothesis’ says ‘love and work are crucial for human happiness’.
COVID-19 AND SUFFERING
But some of these things, maybe all of them, have been affected by Covid-19. Some of you will have had loved ones suffer through it, maybe even die. Others are worrying about their jobs. Or you might be struggling with long-term health affects after “recovering” from the virus.
So are you happy in a Covid-19 world?
I suspect many of you are.
Perhaps some of you aren’t.
If you sit in either camp, or you’re somewhere in between – this short series wants to explore 5 keys to happiness. I’m sure we could add more – but these five keys I think speak into our desires and dreams and at their core, offer the chance of true happiness.
And here they are:
1: True Love that Survives Death
2: Real Justice that Judges Evil
3: Authentic Beauty that does not Fade
4: Actual Meaning in Life that Gives Purpose
5: Lasting Hope of a Better Tomorrow
Is this something you would like? Is it something you want? Is it achievable? Many will say no – but as a Christian who believes in the life changing good news of Jesus – I believe they are.
And if they are even slightly possible – why wouldn’t you want to explore them? Why wouldn’t you want to find this happiness?
SETTLING FOR LESS
Though there are plenty of things that make us happy, I think many of us have settled for temporal happiness over something bigger. We’ve allowed the happiness this world has to offer to limit our horizons.
CS Lewis put it rather more brutally when he says:
‘We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered to us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased’.
Yes we might be happy now but I believe many of us are searching for a deeper, more satisfying happiness. We’re not content and we know there’s more out there. We’ve settled when we could have more. We’re happy with the mud when we can have the holiday in the sun. Christianity offers more. Christianity offers the holiday in the sun through the Son – Jesus Christ.
So why not use these next five blog posts as a way to explore and search and ask yourself, if you’re unsure or sceptical – what’s holding me back?
After all, if you were told there was a treasure of infinite worth that you could have – wouldn’t you take a look?
 Jonathan Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science , p. 223.
 CS Lewis ‘The Weight of Glory’, in The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, p. 26.