We take a break on the Third Sunday of Advent from the usual theme of repentance and reconciliation to focus on joy. The Third Sunday of Advent is called, in Latin Gaudete Sunday and gets that name from the introit of the day:
Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico, gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus: Dominus enim prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis: sed in omni oratione et obsecratione cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Benedixisti Domine terram tuam: avertisti captivitatem Jacob.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Let your forbearance be known to all, for the Lord is near at hand; have no anxiety about anything, but in all things, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be known to God. Lord, you have blessed your land; you have turned away the captivity of Jacob.” Philippians 4:4–6; Psalm 85 (84):1
This Sunday, we focus on Joy, joy, that the coming of the Christ Child is close and Joy that we soon will be joined by family and friends as we celebrate the beautiful season of Christmastide. The theologian Henri Nouwen described the difference between joy and happiness. While happiness is dependent on external conditions, joy is “the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing – sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death – can take that love away.”
We will light the rose-colored candle as a reminder that in the bleakness of life, love and joy will shine through in the love that God has for each of us in the sending of his son to show us the path of righteousness.
May you experience this joy this Sunday and every day.