We have arrived at the point in our journey of Advent when our focus turns to rejoicing, our hope found in the joy that is to come soon at Christmas. Our readings for this third Sunday of Advent are full of shouts of rejoicing, songs of praise, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding. Even John the Baptist’s preaching is seen as good news. And Paul is so eager to tell you to rejoice, he repeats himself.
These are indeed beautiful texts, and a call to rejoicing is welcome at this moment. Indeed, we need a little joy, right this very minute.
After all, to rejoice, to choose joy, is to go against the grain. It is a radical choice.
Third Sunday of Advent (Cycle C)
It is not simply a call to put on a fake smile and to set aside the worries of the day. It isn’t even a call to be happy. It is a call to a different perspective, to view life and all that comes with it through a fresh lens.
To choose joy means to act differently, to stand in our truth, to boldly declare that we are daughters and sons of a life-giving, forgiving, and liberating God.
To choose joy is to no longer accept situations and institutions that oppress and discriminate against us and others. To do so may require difficult decisions and challenging conversations. But in the end joy is worth it and so are you.
To choose joy is to stop, even for just a moment, and sit in the quiet arms of a God who each moment of every day rejoices over you with gladness, and seeks to renew you in love.
To choose joy is to set aside the “conventional wisdom” that states we are all too divided to work together and instead boldly choosing to seek common ground for the common good of all.
Surely it is that God who saves us, our stronghold and our sure defense. By choosing joy we sing God’s praises, crying aloud that a new day is here.
Preaching Justice Notes
- Friday, December 14, marked the sixth anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, in which 20 children between the ages of six and seven years old were shot and killed, along with six adult staff members.
- 25 people have been executed in eight states this year.
- A seven-year-old girl from Guatemala died of dehydration and shock while in the custody of U.S. Border Control at the U.S.-Mexican border officials stated on Thursday.
- On December 10, more than 30 clergy and faith leaders were arrested at the border, protesting the militarization of the border and the planned extension of a border wall. The group included clergy from various Christian denominations, rabbis, and imams. Those arrested were a part of a much larger group of faith leaders present, numbering several hundred.