Three purple and one rose-colored candles are my favorite decorations this time of year. Each week a new candle is lit on Sunday as we await the coming again of Jesus. Many believe the rose candle is the final candle, but traditionally it is the third candle. We’ll light it this week for the third Sunday of Advent known as Gaudete Sunday. The word “gaudete” comes from our reading from Zephaniah, meaning rejoice!
This Advent at the beginning of our worship, we are praying together as we light the new candle in the wreath. The prayer below, written by the Rev Jennifer M. Phillips, reflect themes important for each Sunday. Rejoicing as God frees the oppressed is our prayer for the day.
Watching the Advent wreath brighten each week, even as the days are shorter and darker, makes my heart brighten. These days my heart needs all the brightness of Christ reminding me that the baby born in Bethlehem is also the one who rises into the heavens after his resurrection. He, the one who was and is and is to come, is the one who enlightens a dark, broken, and troubled world.
At the lighting of the Advent wreath on Gaudete Sunday:
Come, O Holy One, breaker of chains and renewer of life! Open our eyes to your presence in all the earth. Stir us to proclaim gladly the signs of your love: the liberation of those oppressed, the healing of those frail and broken, springs of water in all the parched places, and Jesus Christ risen and alive, through whom we pray. Amen.