December 11, 2016
Luke 1:46b-55 (alternate)
And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The Third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. That is a Latin word meaning “rejoice.”
It is the day when, in some congregations, the pink candle will be lit. We prepare with joy to welcome the arrival of the Messiah. In ancient times on this particular Sunday the Pope would honor a citizen with a pink rose, and as time passed the priests wore pink vestments on this day as a reminder of the coming joy.
As I wrote on Thursday, I am mindful that not everyone is joyful at this time of the year and in particular, on this day. I take that into consideration as I write this. I pray that you may be filled with God’s grace, that you may see God at work in you through your sadness as you seek the return of light and hope.
This reflection will be brief. I wanted to share some words of joy this day in addition to the verse from Isaiah quoted above. It is a hymn titled “Joyful, Joyful,” sung to the tune of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” It is found in our Evangelical Lutheran Worship hymnal #836.
Joyful, joyful we adore thee,
God of glory, Lord of love!
Hearts unfold like flow’rs before thee,
praising thee, their sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness,
drive the gloom of doubt away.
Giver of immortal gladness,
fill us with the light of day.
All thy works with joy surround thee,
earth and heav’n reflect thy rays,
stars and angels sing around thee,
center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
flow’ry meadow, flashing sea,
chanting bird, and flowing fountain
call us to rejoice in thee.
Thou art giving and forgiving,
ever blessing, ever blest,
wellspring of the joy of living,
ocean-depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our brother,
all who live in love are thine;
teach us how to love each other,
lift us to the joy divine!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace on this day and forever!