Advent Daily Devotional: WEEK of JOY: Day 21-Sat, Dec 18

Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy. — Psalm 47:1

… when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me. — Micah 7:8

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On this final day of lighting three candles, culminating in joy, each light flickers at its own height, since each candle has burned at longer or shorter intervals. Together, they weave a net of radiance that spans the distances and gaps between them.

            Kindness and compassion, offered as you are able to share them with others, serve as external expressions of gratitude and mindfulness. Kindness recognizes opportunities to say or do something that acknowledges and thanks another person for their presence and their service in the world. It honors people’s humanity.

            When you give out positive energy in ways that create an impact or affect change, you cultivate joy. Your acts of kindness may occur within day-to-day encounters at work, play, service, or study. At other times, you may plan a specific opportunity, by volunteering, for instance, to extend kindness to others.

            Kindness can also be focused inward: toward oneself. Sometimes you need as much generosity and gentleness as others to whom you offer it. Sometimes, when your inner critic is dominating, you cannot be gentle with yourself. At such times, you might try to invert the situation. If someone else was going through whatever experience you’re having, what advice would you offer? What comforting words would you share, to ease the stress? Now can you offer those same words, out loud, to yourself?

            As a spiritual practice, kindness is an empowering approach to life. It identifies your competencies and capabilities, and reminds you that you have choices. It affirms your value and purpose as a human being and helps to acknowledge others, also.  
            Being kind and being of service enlarge personal perspectives. They alter the understanding of others’ circumstances, thus allowing you to recognize your own blessings. They cultivate appreciation for your own individual agency and the ability to be helpful to others. With kindness and service, through small acts or major forms of participation, you renew your internal sense of fulfillment and joy.

            Joy rises as the light flares. Let it touch you and change you, as you change others with the light you offer. — Rev Gail

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The most beautiful moments in life are moments when you are expressing your joy, not when you are seeking it. Jaggi Vasudev

Scatter joy! Ralph Waldo Emerson

Light is to darkness what love is to fear;
in the presence of one the other disappears.
— Marianne Williamson

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