This Sunday is “The Third Sunday of Advent.” The theme is “Joy.”  It’s also known as “Gaudete Sunday” and the liturgical color is “Pink” or “Rose.”  “Gaudete” in Latin means “Rejoice.”   

During the four weeks of Advent as we await the celebration of Christ’s birth and Christ’s coming again; we are to be preparing our hearts for Christmas in penitential reflection.  But midway through this season, on this Third Sunday, (Gaudete Sunday, Pink Sunday, Joy Sunday) we are called to rejoice in hope.  The color “Pink/Rose” indicates it’s a joyful feast day; a break from the penitent mood of the season so far to one of rejoicing in hope.  

          A portion of Luke 1, the assigned gospel text is from the canticle (hymn or chant,) known as the “Song of Mary.”  In it, Mary sings, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for (God) has looked with favor on the lowliness of (God’s) servant. (46b-48) 

The amazing thing about Mary’s chant is she displays an abiding joy deep from within, when nothing about her circumstances at that moment should have made her happy.  She is a teenage unmarried girl in Palestine in the 1st century, told by some angel, she is going to get pregnant without having sex with her baby Daddy (God), or the guy she was engaged to Joseph.  Yet Mary robustly sings “my soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”   

          Why? It’s because joy and happiness are not the same; even though scripture writers often treat them as such.  Joy is a fruit of the spirit intended to help us to have faith, trust God, & rejoice in hope, even when we are not happy.   

          Join us in worship this Sunday, in-person, by Zoom or Facebook Livestream, as my sermon will seek to help us understand we can have joy even when we are not happy.  My sermon is “Joy; But Not Happy” based on “Luke 1:46b-55.”

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