The Third Sunday of Advent is sometimes called “Gaudete Sunday.” The name comes from the Latin gaudete, meaning rejoice.
The only difference in practice is that this is the Sunday we light the pink candle on the Advent Wreath. Purple (or blue) is the traditional color for Advent, represent blood and repentence. But on Gaudete Sunday, we take away a little of the penitential tone of the rest of Advent, we “lighten up” for a moment of rejoicing in anticipation of Jesus’ arrival.
How will you rejoice this Advent? If you are blessed with friends and family, I trust you will rejoice with them. If you enjoy some Christmas parties and get togethers, I pray that they are joyous experiences.
In the church, we teach that Advent is a penitential season — not so penitential as Lent, but nonetheless a season of preparation by self-examination, confession and amendment of life. Even in the midst of that penitence, rejoicing has a place. After all, we are not left in the mess we are to confess! There is a Redeemer! There is deliverance! We are not left trapped in our sin, loss and pain! And even as we walk a difficult path, we rejoice that the Lord is with is, and we rejoice that it does not end here.
Rejoice this week that we have new life, a new beginning in Christ!
This column originally appeared in the December 17, 2017 issue of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
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