Advent week 3

Third Sunday of Advent – 11 December 2022

This Gaudete Sunday we are called to rejoice, to remind ourselves of the joy that Jesus brings into the world. The name Gaudete translates form the Latin as rejoice, we also shift gears and adopt the joyful liturgical colour of rose for this Sunday. It is the Sunday where we light the rose-coloured candle on our advent wreaths. We are called to truly rejoice in the coming of our saviour as a child. It reminds me of that contemporary Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” written in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. Sometimes we can get too caught up in the necessary chores of life and forget to take a moment to just contemplate the joy associated with the coming of Christ as a child.

This Sunday we are called to rejoice and joyfully reflect on the great celebration that is ahead of us. It is enjoyable to reflect on great occasions in the past, those enjoyed with family or friends or great holiday moments, occasions where we have experienced great joy. The birth of the incarnate Son of God is one of these occasions for us as Christians. We as Christians are part of a great family and this celebration of Christmas is something that truly unites us in joy.

In the hustle and bustle of life moments of prayer can often be given a lower priority than we might give it in our regular routine. This Sunday is a moment to stop reflect and rejoice. Reflecting and meditating on the birth of Jesus doesn’t have to be a complicated activity. We could place ourselves before a manger scene and reflect on the birth of Jesus, or we could use and image of the Christmas nativity to assist our reflection. When we reflect on Jesus it is a form of prayer, we are uniting our hearts with his and consciously giving him our time. This doesn’t have to be a grand or exhaustive exercise; it can start with 5-10minutes quietly thinking about the scene of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Things that can be included in the reflection are, who was there? What were they doing? What was the environment like? and where are you in this scene? Always remembering the key spiritual anchor for this time of meditation is the gift of joyful rejoicing that Jesus wants to place in our heart. Truly rejoice this Gaudete Sunday for “it is the most wonderful time of the year.”

Fr Tony King-Archer

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