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Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful; for beauty is God’s handwriting – a wayside sacrament. Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every fair flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”

– Henri Nouwen

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Unclutter our lives, Lord,
we have too much,
consume too much,
expect too much.

Grant us perspective;
to see this world
through others’ eyes
than just our own.

Grant us compassion;
where there is need
to play our part
not turn aside.

Grant us gratitude
for what we have,
our daily bread,
the gift of life.

Unclutter our lives, Lord,
give us space,
simplicity
thankful hearts.

~ John Birch at faithandworship

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Join in the dance of God
Live out the love of Christ
Carry the Spirit wherever you go

~ Christine Sine, Light for the Journey

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Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.

— Victor Hugo

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Let all things now living a song of thanksgiving
To God the creator triumphantly raise.
Who fashioned and made us, protected and stayed us,
Who still guides us on to the end of our days.
God’s banners are o’er us, His light goes before us,
A pillar of fire shining forth in the night.
Till shadows have vanished and darkness is banished
As forward we travel from light into light.

His law he enforces, the stars in their courses
And sun in its orbit obediently shine;
The hills and the mountains, the rivers and fountains,
The deeps of the ocean proclaim him divine.
We too should be voicing our love and rejoicing;
With glad adoration a Song let us raise
Till all things now living unite in thanksgiving:
“To God in the highest, Hosanna and praise!”

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To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful person knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

― Thomas Merton

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The weight of arrogance is such
that no bird can fly
carrying it.

And the man who feels superior
to others, that man
cannot dance,

the real dance when the soul takes God
into its arms and you both fall
onto your knees in
gratitude,

a blessed gratitude
for life.

– St. John of the Cross (1542-1591)

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“Open wide the window of our spirits, O Lord, and fill us full of light;
Open wide the door of our hearts,
That we may receive and entertain thee with all our powers of adoration and love. Amen”

~ Christina Rossetti