Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare
Minister for Children and Families
“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it;” -Psalm 96:11
A Word of Hope
This past Sunday was Gaudete Sunday, the day we lit the rose-colored candle on the Advent Wreath. During the otherwise traditionally solemn and reflective season of Advent, the spirit of the third Sunday emphasizes the joyous anticipation of the Lord's birth. “Gaudete” means rejoice and reminds us that the rose colored candle is also called the Shepherd’s Candle, since it was to the shepherds the angel appeared with a message of joy: “But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of a great joy which will come to all people.” - Luke 2.10
The children of our church always look forward to the lighting of the pink candle, the only unique candle among the four that surround the Advent wreath. Children have a way of elevating something adults consider trivial to a level that is almost magical. They appreciate and take wonder in anything that is different, rather than marginalize it or ignore it. They can understand the emotions the shepherds must have felt, people who themselves were the forgotten and least respected among their own community, but still the chosen audience for a miraculous announcement. The angels really didn’t have to say that the good tidings of great joy were for “all people.” Their presence among the lowly shepherds said it to all of us.
The children have taught me, as they often do, that the rose colored candle is actually the candle of inclusion, the candle on the edge, the one representing those who were routinely turned away, forgotten by their established and comfortable community. Graphically, its color disturbs the otherwise monotonous monochromatic balance of the other candles, but its presence completes the perfect picture of what the healthy church ought to be.
With joy this week, I give thanks for all the rose colored candles among us.
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