This third Sunday of Advent is sometimes called “Gaudete Sunday” (“Gaudete” is a Latin imperative verb meaning “Rejoice!”) The focus of looking ahead for the coming of the King encourages the Church to rejoice, thus the name and spirit of this Sunday.
And yet, during these dark times - especially coming off a week that included the massacre of innocent children in Connecticut - how can we even begin to think about joy, let alone experience it? With so much darkness in our world, it may seem difficult to find joy. And yet, it is within the darkness that God, very Light himself, has entered in. We find joy in the fact that Christ has come and Christ will come again.
I believe the joy of Christ is exemplified in this Jester Hairston text:
Hark now, hear the angels sing;
a newborn King today!
and man will live forevermore
because of Christmas day.
And this text by Charles Wesley:
Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
Listen to this beautiful arrangement by Fernando Ortega: