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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Happiness’ as in… “The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” Thank you, Benjamin Franklin.

Blue Monday is the designation given to the third Monday of January. It’s understood by some to be the most depressing day of the year. Seriously? We’ve hardly gotten started! But then, it’s been quite a start already. So there’s that. The concept of Blue Monday was first floated in a 2005 press release under the name Cliff Arnall. This is not to be confused with Blue Christmas, a Christmas song written by Billy Hayes and Jay W. Johnson and most famously performed by Elvis Presley.

The date for Blue Monday was originally calculated using an equation linking three components: first, the weather, usually murky in parts of the Northern Hemisphere; second, the financial state of most consumers after the holidays when bills become due; and third, the realization that many New Year’s Resolutions made in the last gasping breaths of 2020 have expired. Bummer.

But I want to suggest that Blue Monday is a day to come to grips with our relationship with happiness. Happiness, it seems to me, is a choice that we make, especially when we’re hard pressed, overwhelmed, dealing with horrible news, when people behave badly, when we have no clear view of tomorrow. Today I will choose happiness.

The 2011 documentary film, Happy, opens with a scene from the Kolkata Slum in India. It’s 5:00AM and the Singh family is waking to another new day. Manoj Singh, a husband, and father of eight, maybe nine children, has already been up for half an hour preparing for another 12 to 14 hours of work pulling a rickshaw through the crowded streets of Calcutta. The opening credits aren’t even finished yet and I have the sense that at least this one family together with their community of friends have a positively profound understanding of happiness. The writer of the film describes where Manoj and his family live as “a hut made of bamboo sticks covered in plastic bags.” Happiness is a choice.


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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