Tag Archive for: Joy

Third Week of Advent


Day 15

Isaiah 35:1-10
Psalm 146:5-10 or
Luke 1:46b-55
James 5:7-10
Matthew 11:2-11

The Revised Common Lectionary

On this third Sunday of Advent, we light the Rose Candle representing joy. This Sunday is also known as Gaudete Sunday (Latin).

The Advent Wreath

By Debora Buerk,
Editor, Here & Now,
Selah Companion

The Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the sixteenth century. However, it was not until three centuries later that the modern Advent wreath took shape, thanks to German protestant pastor Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808-1881). Along with Wichern’s wreath came the tradition of lighting candles during Advent worship services. 

Pastor Wichern’s wreath consisted of a large wooden ring (made from an old cartwheel) with twenty small red candles and four large white candles. The small red candles were lit during the week, the white candles on Sundays.

While the form of the Advent wreath changed over time, the tradition of lighting candles during Advent spread throughout Germany and beyond Lutheranism. The Advent wreath expanded into the western Church and took hold in the United States during the 1930s. 

Symbolism. Advent wreaths are circular, representing God’s infinite love, and are usually made of evergreen leaves, expressing the hope of eternal life Jesus brings. 





Within the wreath, four prominent candles represent the four weeks of the Advent season. Collectively, the candles symbolize the light of God coming into the world through the birth of Jesus. 

The colors of the candles have their significance. In the Western Christian church, violet is the liturgical color for three of the four Sundays of Advent. Rose is the liturgical color for the third Sunday of Advent. White is traditionally chosen for the Christ candle to represent the liturgical color for Christmas. 

The centerpiece of the wreath is a white candle, the Christ candle, to represent the arrival of Christmastide. Lit on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the Christ candle is the fitting completion of Advent.

Traditionally, the candles stand for the Christian truths of hope (week one), peace (week two), joy (week three), and love (week four). 

The rose candle, lit on the third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday—from the Latin meaning “rejoice, ye”—represents joy

May this third week of Advent be joy-filled for you.


You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Psalm 16:11

The Fullness of Joy

By Sandy Shipman
a Selah Companion &
part of the Selah community

Many of us fortunate Americans know the stuffed feeling after Thanksgiving. We ate more than our fill of turkey and stuffing, potatoes and gravy, yams with marshmallows, green bean casserole, and Brussels sprouts. (Every family has that dish that must be made, but few eat.) We garnished with some hotly debated form of cranberry puree and probably olives, one for each finger. We looked around the beautifully decorated table at the mounds of food left over and wanted more, but we were stuffed. Not another bite can be eaten. And we know more is waiting in the kitchen. One or more variations of pie: pumpkin, mincemeat, pecan, apple. This moment of plenty requires us to rest, to digest.

So it is when I practice gratitude. Giving thanks for my simple breakfast invites me to notice all the preparation that brought me my granola and yogurt and blueberries. I consider all the unknown hands that worked together, farmers, pickers, truckers, stockers, each with lives and dreams and aches and their own gratitudes. I marvel at the natural process that made a delicious berry come from a woody branch, that started as a tiny seed. And I have dozens of these tiny miracles right in my bowl! And how do I even fathom that creamy yogurt started in the earth as grass seed, and divinely became milk, and through fermentation of all things, becomes yogurt. I am stuffed already. I haven’t even considered yet the granola with all its different grains and seeds or the ceramic bowl itself, or the wooden table or the warm house or the loved ones within it. And I know more is waiting outside! How will I get anything done today with such a feast of blessings to notice, with so much thanks to give? This moment of plenty requires me to rest, to digest.

In your presence is fullness of joy.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Here & Now. We’re thankful for you.

Listening into Advent

Join us for a Quiet Day to Prepare Our Hearts for the Season

Rather than falling prey to the frenzied expectations of gift-giving and holiday gatherings that lose the meaning of Christmas, take this day to sit before the Holy One in quietness and rest. Whether in centering prayer or journaling, or any combination of spiritual practices, the time spent with God opens you up to enter into the season with a centered heart.

Learn more about this event and register

Join us beginning November 25 as Here & Now celebrates Advent and Christmas with a special series of reflections curated with you in mind. Like the Advent Calendar you enjoyed as a child, you’ll find a sweet contemplation to savor each day you open the Here & Now blog. I can smell the Christmas tree already. Debora Buerk, Editor, Here & Now