Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
This week we celebrate the Third Sunday of Advent, often referred to as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is Latin for “rejoice,” the first word in the Introit for that week’s mass.
The tradition that developed around Gaudete Sunday is guided by that spirit of rejoicing; a sentiment we more associate with the Christmas Season than Advent.
In recent years, we mark this day with a rose-colored candle in the wreathe and vestments for the Eucharist. But the themes of the season continue: we are still preparing.
For earlier generations, Gaudete was a respite from penitence: as we would mark the season as a “little Lent”. And many still adhere to this philosophy of the season. But I find such a response limiting. That solemness is characterized by abstaining from pleasure for the sake of growth. This season in which we prepare for the Incarnate Joy to be with us, feels entirely different.
The need for a reminder, here in the middle of December, that we are to rejoice in the glory of God to come, is no less valuable now. In fact, I think it is even more so. For we are called to rejoice, not in presents and music, cookies and greens returning to our lives, but for a God breaking into the world with an eternal gift of love for us. Let us rejoice that this promise is for the whole world.