Today is known as ‘Rejoice’ Sunday. We light the pink candle on the Advent wreath as a reminder of the hope and joy ahead of us in the incarnation. Traditionally this third Sunday in Advent has been a day to lighten up, to be joyful. Indeed, the whole of Advent is about looking forward in hope, but understanding that the very thing we’re hoping for is right with us now: the Christ-child is here, the kingdom is among us, healing and answers to prayer are with us even as we pray.
On this third Sunday of Advent we stay with John the Baptist in the wilderness, but this time we hear John’s words through the lens of John’s Gospel. Here John makes it clear that he is not the longed-for Messiah, but simply the one who heralds his coming. John the Baptist is a bit like the support act at a concert, getting the crowd ready, warming them up for the main act.
There’s an old Advent collect that says “Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us.” In this prayer, we don’t begin by asking God to stir us up, though we may need it. We do not begin with ourselves at all. We start with a challenge to God. Rouse yourself. There is work to do, and no time to lose. If we really do pray this prayer, then we have to be careful what we ask for, because if we call on God to get stirred up, it might just happen. The Holy Spirit might come ‘with great power among us’ and who knows how that might change our lives and our relationships this Advent
So as these Advent weeks continue on, and as we come closer to Christmas and our celebration of the Christ child, let us remember the source of our joy: Emmanuel, God is with us.
In peace, Mother Lynda