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This year we all want to find happiness and contentment. We all seek a meaningful and worthwhile life. We want to have a good year.

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. This will be given Dec. 31, 2017.

As one year winds down and another begins, it’s natural to look back — and at the same time look forward. In fact, reflecting for a moment on the past can be a great way to anticipate what lies ahead. Just as most successful retailers take periodic inventories, determining what sold, what didn’t, and what needs to change, we too would do well to take stock of our lives.

What was good and not so good about this past year? What worked, and what didn’t? What did we learn or accomplish, and how did we improve? What plans and promises does the new year hold?

Certainly, this year we all want to find happiness and contentment. We all seek a meaningful and worthwhile life. We want to have a good year.

There’s no shortage of advice on how to find happiness. But here’s a thought that seems to capture its essence. It’s been said that happiness includes three things: someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to (see "Sphere and Duties of Woman," by George W. Burnap, 1848).

First, happiness means loving, caring and reaching out to others. Happiness and love are close companions — the love we receive and especially the love we give. It may not always be easy, and it may not always be returned or appreciated, but love changes our outlook and our heart.

Second, happiness finds something to do — something purposeful and meaningful. One person found that volunteering and giving back to the less fortunate always made him feel more fortunate and grateful. Another found that taking classes and continuing to learn makes her better able to help those around her. It’s not more busyness we seek but more meaningful ways to make a difference.

And finally, happiness has something to look forward to — no matter how small. Happy people are optimistic. They believe there’s always something good coming. It’s usually something simple and down to earth: getting together with good people, laughing with a friend, a sunrise or a sunset, the changing of the seasons and the sky. All these and more give us reasons to rejoice and look ahead.

So love, do, and look forward, and you are sure to find a happy new year.

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM,, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), and The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MDT on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at