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The Third Sunday of Advent is known as “Gaudete” Sunday, a Latin word that means “rejoice.” Our readings for this Sunday emphasize this exuberant spirit with similar words: “Shout for joy”; “Be glad and exult”; "Sing praise”.
Even the liturgical color of this Sunday is a bit different. Rather than the normal purple color of Advent, a priest is permitted (but not required) to wear rose-colored vestments; thus the rose-colored candle on the Advent wreath.
Why all this merriment? For good reason: “The Lord is near.”
Once we understand that God is near us, we can put aside fear, we can know of God’s mercy, we can accept God’s love for us, we can live in peace.
I know that we are approaching Christmas and this can cause some anxiety. The weariness caused by last several months of pandemic and national divisions have also added to our burdens this year.
Still, rejoice, because the Lord is near. Put your concerns on the shoulders of Jesus. Let him carry your burdens, at least for a moment or two. He wants to lift the burden. He wants you to rejoice and be glad.
I know that this joy can be difficult to receive. My suggestion is that we all take the time in the next few days to let the Lord enter more fully into our life. After all, he came to this earth to be with us. Contemplate the meaning of Christ’s coming to us in the flesh as God’s love is poured into the child Jesus. He was born to take away the sins of the world — yours included. And he can be your strength. If you call upon him. He will come.
Rejoice, for the Lord is near!
Have a blessed week everyone.