Greetings beloved St. Georgians,
By the third week in Advent, some of us are starting to tire of “seasonal” activities. There is a subtle invitation in our Advent wreaths to remember the need for a break, for some variety. The third candle we light on the wreath is rose-colored instead of blue or purple. The church has referred to the third Sunday in Advent as “Gaudete,” (meaning rejoice) because it was the first word in the old Latin mass for that day. Clergy sometimes wore rose-colored vestments as well. Advent has, in past times, been like a mini-Lent, a penitential season. The third Sunday was supposed to provide a break in the fast. We have moved away from Advent as a time of intense spiritual disciplines, but sometimes all the busy-ness and activities of the season can feel pretty intense in themselves. Ironically, too much feasting can feel as heavy as fasting after a while. Maybe a way to celebrate this mid-season break is to actually stop doing so much. Go for a walk. Take a conscious break from the junk food and the shopping and the holiday music. Let that pause be a time just for rejoicing, for reveling in the presence of God from whom all blessings flow.
Keep in mind the ways you can stop and slow down at St. George’s. Remember also the ways that, in addition to buying presents for others, you can give as a sign of thanksgiving to God. Year-end pledge payments and other financial offerings are a gift to your parish as we hope to end the year on solid financial footing. Memorial gifts are a way to stop and remember all those who are dear to us. Our Christmas offering this year, as always, will benefit particular outreach ministries. Thank you to everyone who contributed gifts which we will share with some families in need this season.
I rejoice on this third Sunday of Advent and each Sunday that God has called us to walk the inward and outward journey of faith together.