By: Chad Hyatt
Philippians 4. 4-7
Reflection—v. 4, ‘Rejoice… again I will say, Rejoice!’
Today is sometimes called Gaudete Sunday, a Latin word meaning ‘Rejoice!’ In all our preparations for holiday merriment, we forget Advent was originally a penitential season. For that reason, purple is the vestment and altar color in many churches—and for most of the candles in the Advent wreath. But today we light a rose candle amid the purple, a light of rejoicing amid the darker hues of the deepening winter darkness. Its softer light reminds us that true repentance brings joy. Yes, repentance means taking an honest look at ourselves and all of our relationships—with God and with one another. It means taking stock of the ways we live unjustly and selfishly, in things big and small. We can easily get lost in all the ‘sackcloth and ashes,’ the traditional and biblical signs of penance, and be tempted to think the focus is only upon our sins. But this sobering ‘moral inventory,’ as Twelve-steppers call it, is meant for our joy. The very call to change is an invitation to live into the joy of truly loving and just relationships. In Advent, we are invited to live, leaving behind the hard ways that deaden life. Gaudete!
Prayer God, I turn from the sadness of sin—and find you, the joy of my heart!