THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT


Perhaps you’ve been wondering…….
As early as the fifth century the season of Advent originated as a fast of forty days in preparation for Christmas, commencing on the day after the feast of St. Martin (11 November),. In the ninth century, the duration of Advent was reduced to four weeks, and Advent preserved most of the characteristics of a penitential season  which made it a kind of counterpart to Lent.
Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath. Gaudete Sunday provides a similar break about midway through a season which is otherwise of a penitential character, and signifies the nearness of the Lord's coming.
"Rejoice: the Lord is near." As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing near  when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The often-repeated Veni ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: "Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament.

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT


Advent is…a wreath of evergreens and light! The Advent wreath is a prominent symbol of the Advent season and is used in our churches and our homes as a way to prayerfully count the four weeks of the liturgical season. It consists of a wreath made of evergreens into which four candles have been placed. Beginning on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, the wreath is blessed and one candle is lit to mark the start of the first week of the Advent season. As each week begins, another candle is lit until all four candles are burning brightly by the Fourth Sunday of Advent. According to tradition, three of the candles are purple and one candle is pink, although all four candles may be purple. The pink candle is lit on the Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday (from the Latin word which means “Rejoice!”), as the focus of the season shifts from the Second Coming of Christ to the First Coming of Christ. In the northern hemisphere, the days grow shorter at this time of the year, and the trees and plants drop their leaves as they “die back” in preparation for the long winter ahead. The evergreens on the Advent wreath remind us of the everlasting life promised to us by the gift of Jesus Christ, who came among us to save us from sin and death. The lighting of candles banishes the darkness as a reminder of Jesus Christ, the Light who has come into the world through his birth, and who continues to shine brightly through his Church.