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delight
elation
ecstasy
rapture
bliss
happiness
gladness
enjoyment
gaiety
glee
If you guessed JOY – you win the 3rd Advent pink candle contest!This Sunday is our third stop on the Advent express, the number one train bound for Bethlehem.  It is a special stop on the journey.The season of Advent was first recognized in the 5th century, when, like Lent, it was a 40 day period of penitence and preparation.  In the 9th Century it was reduced to four weeks.  At that point the third Sunday was designated as Gaudete (Latin for “rejoice”) Sunday: the one on which the people would “lighten up”, step out of their penitential mode, and rejoice in God’s love – and the fact that they had crossed the half way hump of Advent!  This Sunday we will continue in that tradition and spirit as we light a special pink candle to symbolize the sustaining power of the joy God offers us.

I think those early church leaders were on to something.  They knew that life is a journey fraught with valleys and peaks.  They knew that even the most faithful disciples become weak, weary, worried, and worn.  They knew that being consistently faithful and constantly focused on God is hard work.  And they also knew the value and importance of stepping back to rejoice in God’s goodness in community with one another.  They knew that what light is to darkness, so joy is to pain.

The Advent season is in itself an invitation to come.  And so come this Sunday bearing your best and brightest pink spirit; come to hear and share in joyful music and message; come seeking to put you worries and weariness on hold; and come prepared to be renewed and revived for the journey through God’s gift of joy.

Peace,
Andy

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