The Collect on Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Advent, acknowledged the joy of the Sunday, Gaudete Sunday. It also reminded that this joy is not a frivolous joy: it is joy generated by the gift of life, hard won for us by Christ.
O God, who see how your people
faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,
enable us, we pray,
to attain the joys of so great a salvation
and to celebrate them always
with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Rejoicing and solemnity do not always go together well. But in our best Christmas carols the wonder and joy at the birth of Christ is tempered by the memory of the sacrifice that he offers. A sacrifice we welcome, but a sacrifice won at such agony by the loving Lord.
- What place does reality have in your preparation for Christmas? Your looking forward to the New Year?
- Bring your hopes and fears to the Lord in prayer.
Altar over the place of the Nativity. Bethlehem. (c) 2013, Allen Morris.