Lighting the Advent Wreath—Third Sunday of Advent

Week 3: Joy

Advent is a season of waiting, of expectation, and of longing. On this third Sunday of Advent, we light one more candle on our wreath: the pink candle that represents joy. How is it, you might wonder, that we could celebrate joy when there’s also so much suffering in the world? Isn’t that contradictory?

It's an exercise of faith to address the Unknown—which can also be called “The Not Yet Known.” Advent is a season of watchfulness: we listen and keep vigil for the promise of things to come. We speak and sing about the promise of the Not Yet Manifest, as reflected in the words of familiar hymns.*

O come, o come, Emmanuel….

People look east, the time is near; love, the guest, is on the way….

There’s a star in the will lead you…

These are the songs of the hopeful, songs of faith; these hymns encourage us to enter and consent to the practice of opening to Possibility.

Joy is one of the qualities that, if not yet present within us, will come to us in its own time. This light of Joy, then, doesn’t require that you experience joy now, today, in your immediate surroundings. Instead, it’s a reminder to wait for it with faithfulness that overshadows pain and cynicism.

May the lighting of this candle bring us patience, grant us faith, draw us closer to joy.

*Hymns referenced are, respectively, #225, #226, and #255 in Singing the Living Tradition. Rather than read these hymn texts, you might have your choir (or several soloists) sing these three lines.

You're invited to use this in conjunction with words for candle lighting on:

Three purple and one pink candles, all lit, on an Advent wreath