We’re living in that funny part of Advent in which we’re still in a time of anticipation and preparation at church while the glitter and sparkle of Christmas is peeking through as we scurry about cooking and shopping and attending parties.
Even in church, we see these glimmers; in particular, this Sunday, known as “Gaudete Sunday.” “Gaudete” means “rejoice” in Latin, and it is the first word of the traditional introit—the entrance chant—of church services around the world on the third Sunday of Advent.
While we don’t use introits or Latin much here at All Saints, the readings and music, the candles and decorations, all send a message of rejoicing. We will sing the Magnificat, Mary’s song of hope and confidence in God (“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior . . .” Luke 1:46-55). The scripture emphasizes joy; this year we hear from the prophet Isaiah about the joy of returning from exile, and “joy” or “rejoice” appears over and over again in the text. The Advent candle we will light is rose, as is the fabric swooping above the altar—a way to lighten the blue of Advent.
Of course, none of this is absolutely necessary, and yet, the Church in her wisdom has supplied us with special markers to help attune our souls to God in various ways at various times of year. As the hurly burly of the commercial Christmas machine gets faster and faster, the church insists on slowing us down to ponder the mystery of the incarnation at Christmas and to anticipate the second coming of Christ one day, yet we are given glimmers of joy even in the waiting: Rejoice!
At All Saints, we follow this tradition in our own way: beautiful services in the morning and then Beer and Carols in the evening! What better way to rejoice?
I pray in this season that you know moments of quiet and anticipation and moments of joy.
See you in church!