It is the third week of Advent. The week representing joy!
Also known as the “Shepard’s Candle,” it is pink because rose is a liturgical color for joy. Gaudete Sunday is meant to remind us of the joy that the world experienced at the birth of Jesus, as well as the joy that the faithful have reached the midpoint of Advent.
In most advent wreaths, the first, second, and fourth candles are purple, but the third candle is pink or rose. Various writers have given different explanations for why the third candle is pink. Generally, there is a consensus that the colors connect to the different candles’ themes. Purple or violet is associated with contemplation and fasting. Thus, candles 1, 2, and 4 are purple and occasions to contemplate hope, peace, and love.
The “Shepherd’s Candle,” and the shepherds’ section of the Christmas story is very much about joy. The shepherds are mentioned in Luke 2:8-20. In this scripture passage, they were watching sheep in their pastures when angels appeared to them. Imagine how they reacted!
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:8-20 NIV
As we go through this week, contemplate on joy and all the emotions that the birth of Jesus brought about. At long last, the Savior has arrived! Not as a triumphant warrior but as a tiny baby. A birth that is still celebrated more than two thousand years later.