Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee oh Israel!
The Third Sunday in Advent, Gaudete Sunday, we rejoice in the promise of the coming Messiah! For those anticipating the First Coming of our Lord, they are in anticipation of what we celebrate on the Christ Mass (Christmas) and it is also a reminder that we rejoice in the promise that He will come again!
Today we light the pink candle on our Advent wreath - only two weeks until the Christ Mass! Remember, the Christmas season has not yet begun! Sure, "It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas" - but Christmas arrives at the Christ Mass, the First Mass of Christmas - traditionally the Midnight Mass. The Christmas Season lasts at LEAST until Epiphany (January 6th) or according to older traditions it lasts until Candlemas (February 2nd). I challenge you to keep your lights up and on at least through Epiphany (which is also the "Twelve Days of Christmas") if not all the way through Candlemas. Including your Christmas tree! Now, of course, if you have real or cut tree and there is a fire hazard, remove the tree as soon as it becomes brittle - but leave the Nativity and other decorations up!