Joy! That is the message this Sunday. We light the pink candle, and we look to our joyous celebration of Christ’s birth as well as to His second coming, which we wait for amidst the groaning labor pains of all creation. Even in suffering our joy is at hand.
This is why I love Enya’s version of O Come, O come Emmanuel. It has that soft mournful tone of a world that is subjected to futility, a world that longs for redemption. And echoing in the background, as if from somewhere outside of time you hear: Rejoice! Gaudete!
And we need to know that our rejoicing is not a glib refusal to accept the harsh realities of our day, but an enduring hope that we can indeed reject the concerns of the flesh, which lead to death, and receive the Spirit of God, which is not enslaved by fear: "For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, 'Abba, Father!'" Romans 8:15
We received this through Christ who came with power and strength as a baby, born into a family. Who came and touched individuals, those who yearned for redemption. Do you yearn? Every candle we light during Advent should increase our yearning. Pray for that, and you will begin to perceive the joy that is always present in His Kingdom.
Advent blessings to all!The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers,and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD,the splendor of our God.Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; with divine recompense comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy; they will meet with joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.