Week three of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday and we light the distinctly different pink candle. This week is the time to throw the parties! This is the Sunday of pure joy, the celebration of the gift that comes and the gift we are to and with one another. Let there be shouts of praise and hope.
My grandson Killian is a continued source of joy for me. He lives life with an exuberance and joie de vie like no one I know. Every time he sees me he runs towards me with his arms wide open like we haven’t seen each other in months. We embrace, squeeze each other tightly, smile and spin around. My worries of the week melt away as I am greeting him and I feel pure joy! Even in the midst of my worldly troubles. I’d like to think I’m the only one he feels this way about, but I am not. He treats all of his family this way. It is a glimpse of heaven for me and a reminder of my own journey home.
As Christmas comes closer the anticipation of joy can be seen in all children. They are trying their best to hold it in for another week plus a few days, but it is about to burst out of them. Let it. Let them express their joy in singing or acting or moving. Let them dance during the hymns. Set them free to let the joy be seen in their little bodies. It can’t help but bring joy to the rest of the congregation. Let them influence; let them raise up; let them help put smiles on faces not used to smiling anymore. No, it doesn’t change difficult circumstances, but it is a promise that there is a reversal on the way.
This Sunday depicts the joy of coming home to a welcome that sweeps us off our feet. Even if many of us can’t find it anywhere but here. So, let it be here. Let this be a sign of the home we long for. Remind us all that there is joy in God’s home. Promised joy. Felt joy. Real joy. Let’s lean into joy this week.