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Rejoicing in the promise

The Third Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin command meaning: “Rejoice!” Of course we might expect to rejoice at Christmas. But that’s still over a week away, so why are we supposed to rejoice now? Well, partly it’s a reminder that Christmas is the anniversary of a joyous event that’s already happened. Our celebration doesn’t really have to wait because it’s not like we’re actually still waiting for Christ to be born.

Our saviour came to us about two thousand years ago. And, even while we’re in the midst of a penitential season preparing ourselves to celebrate that fact, this knowledge should always fill us with joy—a joy that should pervade every aspect of our lives, a joy that we should always be trying to share with others. At the same time, however, we might be a bit hesitant because our joy is not yet complete. Jesus promised to come again, and we’re still waiting for that to happen. But even this shouldn’t stop us from rejoicing right now. A couple who get engaged don’t wait until the wedding to begin celebrating. They start rejoicing right away. Someone who wins the lottery doesn’t wait until their winnings are in the bank. They start rejoicing as soon as they know they’ve won. How much more should we rejoice already in the promise of God? Everything else in this world might let us down, but God never fails to deliver.

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