Sunday, 16 December 2012

Third Sunday of Advent

Zep 3:14-18a

Is 12:2-3, 4, 5-6

Phil 4:4-7

Lk 3:10-18

The readings for the day can be found here.

The candle is pink.

I remember as a girl asking my mom, “Why can’t all of the candles be pink? It would be much prettier that way!” Her response was a simply that it is Gaudete Sunday, which means we are half way through Advent, and  in order to celebrate being closer the church decorates in rose.  I am sure that I shrugged and accepted the answer and moved on until I asked it again the following year.

It was not until much later when I started to explore the Liturgical calendar more that I truly understood the significance of this Sunday. Like Lent, Advent is a penitential season, a time of preparation and anticipation. We are called to pause our “ordinary” lives and to spend time intentionally focused on what the coming of Christ truly means in our lives. We are called to pray, to seek forgiveness and to ready ourselves for Christ. This Sunday, having passed the midpoint of this reflective time, the Church lightens the mood. The change in color provides us with encouragement as we continue in our preparations for Christmas and the coming of Christ.

The readings today echo this encouragement through resounding words of hope and celebration. Shout for joy! Be glad and exult! Give thanks! Rejoice!

Christmas is a time of great joy and as our journey of preparation draws to an end, our spirits should be lighter. However, in the midst of final exams and wrapping up the end of a semester,  running errands and rushing to gather Christmas gifts, we finds ourselves weighed down by a burdensome “to-do” list. Anticipation and stress fill our thoughts. The second reading speaks directly to this.

Rejoice in the Lord always. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything by prayer and petition make your requests known to God.

As we reach the end to our semester and pass the midpoint of Advent. May our focus and preparation turn to joy and celebration.  Today the church reminds us that this is a season of glad tiding as our Savior is coming soon.

The candle is pink.  Give thanks and rejoice!

Beth Schwaab is the Director of Global Health for the School of Public Health.

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