This Gaudete or Rejoice Sunday, we light three candles, two purple and one pink, of the four candles of the Advent wreath. The pink candle of the Advent wreath symbolizes our joy of realizing that Christmas is at hand.
We rejoice at the nearness of our celebration of the event that has made God present in our humanity. We rejoice at the fast approaching celebration of Christ’s birth that has made God present among us, in the sacraments and in prayer, in our daily life and in the signs of the times, in other people and in occasions of serving one another. We rejoice at the promised gift of God’s only begotten Son’s taking on human form through the Blessed Virgin Mary that renewed our world from within, bringing about an abiding source of supernatural life and liberation from sin.
Our reason for great rejoicing is Christ’s presence in our midst which began on the first Christmas Day. We see and feel Christ’s presence in people whose lives reflect His love, mercy and forgiveness. Although harder to see and understand, God is also with us in pain and suffering.
As we hasten towards Christmas, let us offer the gift of Christ’s presence to our loved ones as well as to those who need most our love, especially this season. Let us be more generous with our gift-giving, knowing that we give on behalf of Him who gave up his life for our sake.
As we begin to partake of the happiness of togetherness in family and friendship during this eason, let us also remember those who are faced with hatred, indifference and anger in their relationships. As we enjoy bounty of food and drink in the luxury of our homes during this happy period of the year, let us also remember those who have nothing to eat or have nowhere to lay their heads for their needed rest.
As Christmas approaches, let us re-learn to welcome Christ not only in our hearts but also in the lives of others, especially those who are struggling to gain their human dignity in the midst of poverty, sickness and need for love and comfort. The joy of Christmas is rooted in sharing Christ’s love and presence with others in community. The birth of the Emmanuel, which means God is with us, highlights the continuing presence of God in our world through the life we live as followers of Christ. May our Eucharistic celebration strengthen us in our witness to Christ’s presence in our midst.