Third Sunday of Advent
For two weeks, we have been remembering how the Israelites and those who followed John the Baptist, waited, hoped, and anticipated the coming of the promised savior. We see John prepare the people for the savior's imminent arrival. We, too, have been waiting for the celebration of Christ's birth by preparing our hearts.
The Church gives us a Sunday in the midst of Advent to encourage us to celebrate and rejoice in the news that God is coming among us. This Sunday is called Gaudete Sunday from the Latin word for joy. In the first reading we are called to "Be glad and exult with all [our] heart." "Fear not..." for "The Lord, your God, is in your midst."
The second reading encourages us to "rejoice in the Lord always...have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your request known to God." Today is a good opportunity for us to slow down from the busy-ness of our preparation for the holidays and remember exactly what we are preparing for. A time for taking a deep breath, to let our joy and gratitude to God for His great gift take center stage.