The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally called Gaudete Sunday. It takes its name from the first word of the introit for Latin mass for the Third Sunday of Advent: Gaudete in Domino semper - Rejoice in the Lord always (again I say rejoice! Philippians 4:4. And comes from a time when, like Lent, Advent was a 40 day season of fasting before the feast of Christmas, and therefore it was good to have a respite, a rose Sunday, a Sunday for joy, before entering into the final leg of the journey, during the darkest nights of the year.
This week of Advent is a hinge in the doorway between our former lives and the new one being created in Jesus, the prophecies of Jesus coming to save us begin to be clearer, the door to the presence of Immanuel opens further, and we begin to see what repentance is: turning to God and being purified of what happened when we turned away. The second Sunday of Advent is about all the prophets before John, who pointed to God’s unfailing faithfulness and love of his people, and described the devastation that results from turning away from him.
The long litany of Sundays after Pentecost is almost over and with it the beginning of Advent will be soon upon us. Almost too quickly, it seems, as we realize this means we are already nearing Christmas, whether or not we are ready. And with Advent comes that familiar cry from John the Baptist, proclaiming that we need to prepare for the coming of the Lord because He is coming, whether or not we are ready.
It was once famously said by a former Speaker of the House of Representatives that: “All politics is local.” Folks who seek political power must ensure that the streets stay paved, the garbage gets picked up and local needs are met.
But that’s not quite true of our faith.
As we're invited this fall to take stock of the many blessings in our lives together at St. Luke's, I've made it my practice to run through a long list of blessings in my head, acknowledging the people, activities and experiences for which I am grateful. Every day I am grateful for the love of my husband and the people of St. Luke’s; the ability to listen to music and raise my own voice in song; and the big one – that I made it out of bed and can sing alleluias to God one more day here on earth.