The Lord will surely comfort Zion
and will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden,
her wastelands like the garden of the Lord.
Joy and gladness will be found in her,
thanksgiving and the sound of singing. Those the Lord has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing;
everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee away. ~Isaiah 51:3,11
A third candle is lit today. The light increases with each flame. The faint glow that began our advent journey becomes stronger, brighter. Fitting, since it is joy that this flame symbolizes this day. And isn’t joy what you have when hope and peace are yours?
So the brave hope that flickered on its own, and the silent peace that burned quietly is joined by a vibrant joy – pouring forth light into what once was darkness.
Purple is the color of the other three candles on the wreath, the color of penitence and fasting, as well as the deep awe and reverence given to the coming royalty. Solemnity marks these weeks, solemnity mixed with a serious and somber reflection in preparation for the coming Jesus.
But for one week during this month the color changes. Pink is the color of the joy candle. Pink is a celebration, an indication of gladness and joy. Rejoice, the pink proclaims, have joy.
Guadete Sunday, today is called in the liturgical calendar. Guadete. Rejoice. A day entirely based around joy. The priests in the catholic church may dress in pink, the light is brighter. Today is a day of joy. Joy for what the coming of the Christ child means, for the joy that He brings.
It is easy in this season to over-emphasize the serious side of preparing for Christ in attempts to spiritualize this “all too-commercialized season”. Redeem the season, is our battle cry, and in our attempts to do so we may accidentally throw out joy.
Because this season doesn’t have to be all serious and quiet. This season, though quiet and longing as we mourn the brokenness we’re living in, is also rich with the joy of what is to come. The babe in the manger calls for much more than solemn awe. There is a jubilance and exuberant gladness that comes with that little baby on that starry night.
So with that pink candle glowing tonight something stirs up within our souls. Joy is being lit, and once flaming it will ignite all that is around. You have permission to burst forth as well. No longer are we serious about making Christmas serious. This is a time of joy. So turn up the carols. Light all the candles. Hang the lights and break out the pink. It is time to celebrate. It is time for joy.