It's the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday. Rejoice! I am, as I always say, a "stickler" for the third Sunday, the rose Sunday, of Advent. I think it comes from the fact that so many people expect the rose Sunday to come up fourth, as the grand finale, not realizing that it is instead a reminder to us that Christmas is getting close and we'd better hop to it with the spiritual preparations. When Noah was young he learned -- incorrectly -- at both children's liturgy and faith formation class that the rose candle was lighted on the fourth week of Advent. It drove me crazy, especially when he refused to believe me when I explained he'd been given inaccurate information. Not long after, we pulled him out of faith formation and put him in Catholic school, which might seem like a rather dramatic move, but this week, when our pastor asked the congregation if anyone knew what the pink candle signified, and Noah, who is almost 12, responded, "joy," and then explained that the purple candles signified repentance, I was feeling pretty content. Sure, he'd heard it from me over and over, but he'd also just re-learned it in school and I think that's what made the biggest impression.
We are deep in the throes of Advent here. Yesterday Noah was helping with our parish's Giving Tree preparations. Today Olivia was practicing for Angel Choir. This week will include our school's performance of Christmas carols at a local mall as well as our school's annual Christmas concert. Add in a few dance class recitals and a reconciliation service and you've got some serious holiday spirit in the making.
I'm trying to take these days leading up to Christmas at a slower pace despite the myriad commitments. I gave up writing Christmas cards this year (so don't feel bad if you don't get a card from us), and I've toned done the shopping to a minimum, not because I'm not feeling generous but because I'm not feeling frenzied. I want this season to be about the important stuff.
On that note, I recently saw this little video clip on Ironic Catholic and wanted to pass it on. It is, at first, amusing and light-hearted, but then it becomes more serious and inspiring. In fact, I had goosebumps at one point and, by the end, I was applauding all by myself in my family room. It is Bobby McFerrin and his audience spontaneously breaking out into a rendition of Ave Maria. Enjoy, and happy Gaudete Sunday. Think pink.