The third Sunday in Advent is filled with joyful anticipation. We’re halfway there! Jesus’ birthday will be here soon!
In our home, the manger reminds us of this and our Advent candles which we have faithfully lit over the last two weeks show us by their steadily diminishing size that the long wait is almost over. When we light the rose Advent candle at evening prayers this week, we will share in the silent, peaceful, prayerful waiting of Mary and Joseph.
How sad that all around us, most people who are also preparing for Christmas have lost, or more tragically, have never found that sense of quiet, joy-filled anticipation. At the specific time in Advent when we should be filled with eagerness, strained faces, crowded malls, and over-scheduled calendars tell a very different story. All around us, the temptation is to be drawn into buying, consuming, acquiring. There is no room for the impending birth of Jesus.
Exactly at this time, those who try to live the meaning of Gaudate Sunday ought to be bearers of the Advent message: rejoice! Jesus is coming soon! The season is not about materialism; it is about silent, loving, joy.
As Mary shared her good news with Elizabeth, we ought to share the good news with our frenzied, harried, joyless neighbours. In his Advent homily of December, 18, 2005, Pope Benedict XVI urged us to do just that:
“We can transmit this joy simply: with a smile, with a kind gesture, with some small help, with forgiveness. Let us give this joy, and the joy given will be returned to us. Let us seek in particular to communicate the deepest joy, that of knowing God in Christ. Let us pray that this presence of God’s liberating joy will shine out in our lives.”
Source: Benedict XVI, Pope. (2009). The Joy of Knowing Christ: Meditations on the Gospels. Frederick, Maryland: The Word Among Us Press.