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3rd Sunday of Advent: JOY

Sheer joy!

Sheer Joy! Snoopy doing the happy dance.

This particular Sunday of Advent actually has its own name in the church world.

It’s called Gaudete Sunday You will find that it comes from the latin phrase

“Gaudete in Domino semper” – translation: Rejoice in the Lord always.
Thus our candle of Joy.

[You Marines caught that word Semper, as in Semper Fi = Always Faithful.]

If Advent is a bit new to you, here’s a quick recap: today, churches and homes around the world will light the third candle of the Advent wreath.

There are colors and symbolism of the season as well. The last two candles that were lit during the past two Sundays, were purple.

This week, a rose or pink colored candle will be lit.  This is called the JOY candle.

220px-Adventkranz_andrea

The Pink Candle.

In certain what we call “High Church” environments, the priest will even change from his purple robes or sashes of the past two weeks into rose colored ones. The church as a whole will move from a season of fasting and repentance into one of joy. 

So, if you see any of these symbols or colors in wreaths this coming week, perhaps you will now feel a more “in the know”.  If anything, that will put a smile on your face.

And if you have a moment, read Luke Chapter 2. It’s the place that will share with the story where the shepherds were given “Tidings of great joy” which would be for all people.

EnJOY.

Stephanie

Advent: 2nd Sunday…Peace

Children's Christmas Pageant.

Children’s Christmas Pageant.

The 2nd Sunday of Advent.

I recall one particular Christmas pageant that I was in as a young girl. (Which seems of late, that tradition is becoming a sweet thing of the past.)We used to put on bathrobes and place bath towels on our heads. Sound familiar?

Magically, those items suddenly transformed us into shepherds. White bedsheets and tinsel halos were the costume of choice for those of us desiring to be angels. And Mary? Well, she was always in blue—of course.

Anyway, for this one particular production, I was the “third angel from the right”. Our job was to memorized the entire second chapter of the book of Luke. And you know what? To this day, I can still recite almost the entire chapter. (Something to be said for teaching young folks the Scriptures. It sticks!)

It’s interesting, because that’s the exact same passage that Linus, of the famed Peanuts gang, quotes on stage during the Charlie Brown Christmas Special (The TV classic which I still love to watch each year.)

There is one particular section of that section that continues to be one of my favorites. Especially during these confusing and difficult times. Maybe it will bring a sense of peace to your heart and to your corner of the world today:

Luke 2:8-14 (ESV)

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Last Sunday, churches and homes round the world lit the 1st candle of Advent. The Hope Candle.

This Sunday, we will light Advent’s second candle: the Peace candle. In a world that today doesn’t seem peaceful, peace is definitely one thing most of us can agree on as valuable, and what many of us hold dear.

Peace to you.

S.

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“I Could Squish You Like a Bug!”

Bosco on Paver Patio

Bosco

Just obey me.

I joke that my new puppy thinks his name is “Bosco, ‘No’.” For the first five weeks in my house, that’s about the only words he heard.  Those, and of course the other ones that I utter each time he defiantly disobeys me. I lean over him, look into those adorable eyes, and while trying to get my message across (without laughing) blurt out,  “I could squish you like a bug!” Doesn’t he know I could wipe him off the face of this planet in one swoop?

Why not just obey me and avoid any repercussions let alone the consequences? At times, I get so frustrated. If I could only speak doggie and get through to him…But alas, I can’t.

We’re turning a corner of late. I’m finally able to have some cuddle time where he doesn’t bite and gnaw on me 24/7. I’m actually experiencing moments of peace (when I’m not chasing him down the hall with yet another shoe). In those new quiet minutes, I have begun to think, I sure hope God looks at me that way—when I am being nothing short of a brat. I hope He says, “But she’s so dadgum sweet and cute.”

I wonder if He’s able to adore me when I continue to miss the point, or when I snap back at Him each time I don’t get my way? Does He still look at me lovingly when I do the same things, over and over again? Does He get exasperated having to repeatedly remind me, “Stop it. Don’t do that!”

Though He could truly “squish me like a bug” (and in one breath blow me into eternity)…I hope in those moments He looks at me the way I look at my new puppy.

When I look at Bosco, I see a sweet, innocent creature, that just doesn’t quite yet get it. He tries—he really does. I can see it in his eyes. He simply can’t help himself. He wants to be good, but that intense puppy instinct overrides my rules and reprimands that ask him to go against his nature and adjust. And alas, he does the exact opposite of what I ask or want.

Being good isn’t easy. Obeying when we just don’t understand why we should (or when it doesn’t make sense to us) is tough. But like Bosco, we don’t speak God’s language. And too, we really don’t know much about this immense and complex world out there that we live in—and we never fully will. That’s why God asks us to not question—just simply obey.

I’m grateful to know The Lord understands that I just don’t get it. But I try…I really do. Maybe someday I will grow up, and behave, and just rest peacefully on the porch of life and not fight for my own way all the time. Wishful thinking. Who knows. We’ll see.

Just my thoughts,

S.

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Deuteronomy 30:15-16New Living Translation (NLT)

15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. 16 For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

 

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