Preparing for worship – Heather Mustain, associate pastor.
Today is the third Sunday of Advent, the day we light the pink candle in our Advent wreath. Pink, or rose, is the liturgical color that symbolizes joy, and this Sunday is more formally known as “Gaudate” Sunday — a Latin word meaning rejoice. Placing joy in the middle of a season of waiting is intentional. It’s a reminder that even in our waiting, joy waits with us. The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a season for everything, the apostle Paul commends us to rejoice always and moments before Mary’s Magnificat, the child in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy.
But if I’m being honest with you, it’s easier for me to list what has me not leaping for joy rather than what does. Joy, for many of us, feels elusive. It feels close, yet just out of reach. We see others all around us experiencing the joy of the season and wonder what it must feel like. Our circumstances often do not lead us to feeling abundantly joyful; in fact, our circumstances often leave us feeling abundantly resentful, grief stricken and apathetic. Yet here we are, being reminded that joy is in fact part of our waiting. God, soon, will break through it all in order to be with us in it all, and the world will rejoice with or without us.
So in this season of waiting and anticipating, what has you leaping for joy? Here are a few of my most recent moments:
- Looking outside and seeing the vibrancy of fall that reminds me of my New England childhood.
- Watching my children play in a snow globe outside Neiman Marcus.
- Having dinner with friends and being reminded I’m not alone.
- Watching hard-working women celebrated for their contributions.
Personally I’m learning that hope, peace, joy and love are postures toward the world that I need to cultivate more wholly in my life. And perhaps in my cultivating, I may experience each of them more deeply, more fully, more richly. As you prepare for worship this morning, maybe create your own joy list, take a deep breath and be thankful.