By Pastor Wes Poole
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – ASV
One of the great choruses from Handel’s Messiah, is “For Unto Us a Child is Born”. It is an exuberant expression of praise to God for His many great gifts. Difficult to sing, and filled intricate and fast moving lines, it is one of the highlights of the piece. I love singing it, and when it’s done well, it can give you goosebumps and raise your heart rate! The coming Sunday, we will observe the 3rd Sunday of Advent, and light the third candle on the wreath, which is a different color from the other three. Traditionally, this Sunday has been called Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is a Latin word that means “rejoice ye”. It is an exhortation to lift our hearts and voices to God, even in the midst of our quiet anticipation. Sure, we will still hear the John the Baptist’s unrelentingly stern admonishments to get our proverbial acts together, but the joy that is coming cannot be dimmed, even by John’s “tough love”. It’s really a lovely juxtaposition of the sometimes painful reality of the human condition with the unwavering and far more powerful love of the Most God for His children.
As we continue to walk our journey of a faithful Advent in the midst of the stresses and craziness of the “Holiday Season”, we would do well to remember this duality. As Christians, we still live with the reality of sin and human failings, but we also live in the perpetual hope and joy of this God who has redeemed us all in Jesus Christ. When we’re frustrated and irritable as we’re standing too long in line, or worrying about paying the credit card bill in January, let’s all try to take a moment, breathe out, and ponder with joy the amazing love of Our God. Then, in response, we can reach out to others who might be in need; showing them God’s love through our own actions and good works. A faithful Advent is not just the journey of a month, but a journey of hope and faithful living that begins now, and carries us through the rest of the year. God is with us always! Rejoice!
Let us pray…
God of all joy and goodness, we give you thanks for this holy season of waiting and preparation. Help us always to remember the gift you have given us in Jesus Christ; new life and the opportunity share that good news with others. As we approach, once again, the wonder that is Christmas, make of us ever more faithful and generous servants; reflecting your love in all that we say and do. We pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Be well, be kind, and be safe. Emmanuel is coming!
Your Partner in Christ,
Pastor Wes Poole †