Gaudete Sunday: This Child is our Victory. REJOICE!
By John Mallon
The Third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday, the 'pink candle' Sunday, the Sunday we light the pink candle on the Advent wreath. Gaudete is the imperative plural form of the Latin verb gaudere (to rejoice). It is a command ordering us to rejoice! In these days of penance and preparation leading up to the feast of our Savior's birth, it reminds us of the joy that is to come, and serves, amid this season of penance, as a kind of 'break' when we recall the hope we have because of the coming of Jesus.
In Advent, we not only celebrate the first coming of our Lord, but eagerly prepare for His Second Coming as well, when the restoration of all things takes place. Too often many of us shudder at the thought of our Lord's coming in glory, as if it were a frightening event—and certainly it will be for those who knowingly rejected Jesus. But for Christians who persevere it will be our great deliverance from the troubles and trials of this world. All the world will bend the knee—some in terror—but as for God's friends, they will bend the knee in joyful adoration as Jesus takes His place as King. The earliest Christians cried 'Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!' expecting Jesus to come at any moment. So should we—we should long for His return with our lamps trimmed and our souls ready. It is indeed something to celebrate—and prepare for. Advent turns our hearts and minds to this reality.
Should commercialism or the evils of the world get us down we need to look at the Advent wreath with its candles burning down patiently, a new one each week in the spiral they create, going down as we light the pink one this week which fills us with joy that we are getting closer and closer to the coming of the Lord. We can place ourselves on the hillsides with the shepherds in the silent chill with patient anticipation of they-knew-not-what until the angel told them. We can imagine the three wise men silhouetted in the brightness of the Christmas star. And then we can meditate on being in that stable with the smell of straw, animals, and a beautiful Newborn Who is our hope. We can let our burdens drop away at the foot of the manger when He smiles at us. We can receive Him into our arms and hearts as Mary holds Him out to us as the gentle Joseph looks on. This Child is our victory.
John Mallon is contributing editor for Inside the Vatican magazine. This article originally appeared in The Sooner Catholic on December 15, 1996. John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gaudete Sunday, Advent, Catholic customs, Christmas
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