Ever wonder why one of the candles in your Advent Wreath is pink? The pink candle is most often the 3rd candle, representing the 3rd Sunday in the season of Advent. The ancient church called this 3rd Sunday Gaudete – a Latin word that means rejoice. You might think that every Sunday approaching Christmas should be one of rejoicing, but the Advent season shares many of the same themes as that of Lent. Both seasons prepare the Christian for a major festival of the Church Year. Both have a focus on repentance. AND both have a “time out” Sunday towards the end for joy. Gaudete (Rejoice) during Advent, Laetare (Be joyful) during Lent.
As Christians prepare themselves for anything that has to do with the worship of their God, repentance is a major theme. Indeed, every day needs to be one of repentance for the Christian. Some look at the Christian and suppose that repentance brings the Christian down. This simply isn’t true. By repentance we clear the way, make room, and open the door for God’s grace. This forgiveness is what frees the Christian for real joy and meaning in life. During the season of Advent it is bathing in the warmth of God’s love that is the true Christmas Spirit.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV84)
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.