By Owen Phelps, Ph.D.
Director, Yeshua Institute
What I’m about to discuss is pretty basic to people who take a particular interest in the church’s liturgical calendar or in all things liturgical.
But I know from over 30 years of experience working in church ministry that a lot of us don’t fit those criteria.
We might take a quick look at the Advent wreath in church or on a kitchen room table and wonder why one candle is rose-colored when all the rest are purple. Maybe a purple one got lost or broken – always a safe assumption when we’re talking about things on a family’s kitchen table – and all anyone could find to take its place was a rose-colored one.
But explaining a rose-colored candle in the Advent wreath at church is more of a challenge – and introduces the notion that there really is a reason for the difference.
Yes, there certainly is.
The Third Sunday is known as Gaudete Sunday from the Latin word meaning "to rejoice" – which is also the first line of the traditional entrance prayer, called the Introit, at the Mass for this occasion. It’s taken from Philippians 4:4: "Gaudete in Domino semper" ("Rejoice in the Lord always").
The Third Sunday in Advent, marking Advent’s midpoint, is a time for joy. So on that day – this coming Sunday – it’s time to be joyful and light the rose-colored candle.
Why not start the day – and every day in the week for that matter – asking yourself to think of a reason to be joyful?
Then stay with that question until you come up with an answer ... or several of them.
Be sure to ask yourself, too, why the birth of Jesus – our Savior -- should be the source of special joy in your life. Reflect on your answer ... and let the joy in your heart grow and grow.