It’s cold outside. The kids are running to the Santa stocking by the fireplace to see what has been left for them to celebrate the 3rd Sunday in Advent.
While I do believe that Christmas is much more than just presents, I do enjoy seeing the kids’ faces as they dig their hands into the stockings and pull out a little gift. The pure joy and giggles are what Christmas is also about.
Today we light the third candle in our wreath, which is pink. It symbolizes joy. It is a reminder that the Advent season is a season of joy because our salvation is already at hand.
Some might also refer to the candle as the “Shepard’s Candle”.
The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday and is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that the faithful have reached the midpoint of Advent.
Gaudete is a Latin word that means “rejoice.” This name is taken from the entrance antiphon for Sunday’s Mass, which is also echoed in the second reading from Paul’s letter to the Philippians.
Luke is continuing to set up two important themes of his Gospel message: the Christian faith is expressed in one’s actions, and the call to salvation is extended to everyone, Jews and Gentiles.
When the crowd begins to wonder if John the Baptist might be the Messiah, John interprets his baptism and makes it clear that his ministry is in preparation for the Messiah. John the Baptist knows his place and role in God’s plan of salvation. By encouraging the crowd to act similarly in accordance with their stations in life, John’s teaching suggests that each person has a role to play in God’s salvation. It is the great mystery of our salvation that God permits and even asks for human cooperation in his divine plans.