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Hallo again to all.

Unseasonable weather seems to be the norm in much of the world right now. Warm weather in winter, heavy rains in areas with typically lower rainfalls, and cool weather in parts of the world where it is summer.  Rather than our customary winter jumpers, we were forced by the heat to wear short sleeves. It is, regardless, Gaudete Sunday named for the first word of the traditional introit of the third Sunday in Advent’s mass.

Gaudete in Domino semper : iterum dico gaudete. Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus : Dominus prope est. Nihil solliciti sitis : sed in omni oratione, et obsecratione, cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestræ innotescant apud Deum. Et pax Dei, quæ exuperat omnem sensum, custodiat corda vestra, et intelligentias vestras in Christo Jesu.†

Though most noticeable as one of the two times in the church year rose-coloured vestments are used, it is a break in an otherwise solemn season of preparation and waiting and allows for rejoicing in this often bleak time of year.  The lighting of the rose candle this week pauses and softens some of our anxieties. It is somehow calming and satisfying.

Much has been made in the last few years of the prevalence of wishes for a  'Happy Holidays' rather than for a 'Happy Christmas'. In the present global, multicultural, multiethnic world, screams of the 'Political Correctness Police' ruining 'this clearly Christian season for all of us' seem to be come with increasing frequency. Media pundits add it to their complaints about the so-called 'War on Christmas.'

Instead, we find ourselves comforted by the wish for a Happy Holiday. It is Advent, a holy time of year. It is not yet Christmas (we write this, in fact, on the last day of Chanukah).  The reminder of a Happy Holiday or a Seasons Greetings is a reminder of the sacredness of this entire season rather than just the proximity of the day to Christmas. Gaudete Sunday, with its rose vestments and joyful sounds, draws us out of the sprint and back into Advent. There will be plenty of time to wish a Happy Christmas during its own twelve-day feast.

Rather than agreeing with those who decry the war on Christmas*, our hearts go out to those who don’t know the warmth, longing, and joy of Advent. Those who run headlong into Christmas, not pausing to relish the waiting. Those who cry of being unable to 'get into the Christmas spirit' because they dwell on the seasons of weather and not the seasons of the church year. Those who put Jesus in the crèche as soon as it is set up, not waiting until he appears on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Those who have not meditated to the O Antiphons, those whose hunger is not fed as they anxiously await the coming of Christ.

So we rejoice along with the whole church: Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel, nascetur pro te Israel.

Blessed Advent to you.

See you next week, when it will still be Advent.

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All of us at Anglicans Online

13 December 2015

*Though the commercialization of Christmas is another issue altogether
†Epistola B Pauli Apostoli ad Philippenses 4:4-7, from the Clementine Vulgate Project.


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