Phillips Brooks (1835 – 1893) was a famous Episcopal clergyman who became bishop of Massachusetts and is particularly known for his sermons and the lyrics of the Christmas hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. In one of his prayers, he prays, “open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things”.
There is something very powerful here, that we often miss: We can find something good in every situation, every circumstance and every moment of life. Tragically, most of the time we are overwhelmed by what we see as wrong. We have become focused on things being bad. Some years ago, a co-worker remarked that he had trained himself to not expect anything good so that when the “bad” arrived he would not be disappointed. You probably know already that he never was disappointed because what we expect always arrives.
We don’t see the good in anything because we live focused on the five senses – we rely exclusively on the sense of sight – at least in the external world. That is why Bishop Brooks’ prayer is so powerful because it is only when we turn into the soul that we are able to see the “good in all things”.
We need that especially in this season which can often be a source of misery for many.