The Third Sunday of Advent is sometimes called “Gaudete Sunday.” (Pronounced GOW-day-tay.) 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, representing blood and repentance. 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, hence the pink candle and, in some places, pink vestments.
How will you rejoice this Advent? I think we’re all struggling to find rejoicing this Advent season. Yes, Christmas is coming, but out Thanksgiving family get togethers seem to have caused a significant surge in the pandemic. Do we want do to more? Do we risk our own health and, perhaps, the health of our higher risk family members? While I won’t presume to answer that question for you, I will remind everyone that Christian faith calls us to sacrifice our own wants for the sake of others.
But that doesn’t leave us without rejoicing! There are plenty of other ways to celebrate and connect with family and friends. Calls, texts, video calls, Zoom gatherings, etc. While they are not the same as face to face, they are something and help us retain connections until we can be face to face again.
More importantly, we rejoice that Jesus comes to us, indeed He is with us, even in this midst of this time. When Jesus came to us 2,000 years ago, it was hardly a comfortable time. Israel was under the control of Roman invaders who imposed taxes and other heavy burdens. Life was short, hard and cheap. Everywhere one turned there was death ans suffering. Still, He came!
Whatever your holidays look like this year, Jesus is with you! Look for signs of His presence. More importantly, BE the sign of His presence for someone else.
Rejoice that you have the opportunity to bring rejoicing to someone else this year!
The column appeared in the December 13 edition of St. John’s eNews. Click here for the complete issue.
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