Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
This week we come to celebrate the third Sunday in Advent. Traditionally this Sunday is also known as Gaudete Sunday or Rose Sunday. Like Laetare/Refreshment Sunday in Lent, this is a time to break from the seasonal traditions. During Advent we focus on waiting expectantly for Jesus, his birth, his presence and second coming.
On Rose Sunday we are encourage to rejoice. The translation for Gaudete is ‘rejoice’. I have been reflecting on the difference between happiness and joy. I found a very good definition by the theologian Henri Nouwen as he described the difference between joy and happiness. While happiness is dependent on external conditions, joy is “the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing – sickness, failure, emotional distress, oppression, war, or even death – can take that love away.” Thus joy can be present even in the midst of sadness. My hope and prayer is that we can truly sense the feeling of joy as we come together to worship and fellowship.
God’s peace,