In contrast to American Christmas traditions, for Christians, Advent is a season of repentance, or paring down, making room. It might seem like a bummer to have to dial back when all of the holiday festivities are just winding up. But there is a rhythm to this madness that has made Advent my favorite times of year and it has a lot to do with the color pink.
Four weeks, four candles, three purple, one pink. As a kid I always thought the pink candle didn’t look very christmasy and it really made the wreath appear lopsided. In a way it almost does. The third week of advent sits a little higher than the others. It is Gaudet Sunday, or Joy Sunday.
The purpose for paring down in advent is that we are making room. Turning away from somethings so that we can turn toward others. Its cleaning house so there is room for new furniture. It can be a little work. I eat less, take more time for silence and let go of some luxuries. It makes me have to face myself. Its not always fun. It is however full of hope. It means things can change for us, will change. It means, God help us, there is still more adventures waiting.
Gaudet Sunday comes to us as an expected surprise. Its a moment to sit down in the middle of all the internal sweeping, moping, scrubbing and self-examination to stop and look forward to the guest we are preparing for. We are making room for God, who is pleased to be with us, and who brings us our newest selves over and over, year after year.