Sunday, December 11, 2016

Go Tell It On The Mountain

It's the third Sunday of Advent and it's time we should sing that song "Go Tell It on the Mountain"! Well -- not necessarily from a mountain -- that would mean we'd have to go climbing! Perhaps we can start right here on level ground to be joyful and full of the good news of Christ's coming to this earth for you and me.

On this third Sunday of Advent, the priest wears a rose colored vestment and the third candle, which is pink, in the Advent wreath, is lit. That pink candle symbolizes JOY and JOY is the theme and the scripture that Paul wrote in Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say rejoice.” Can you imagine that he wrote that scripture from a dark, cold and damp prison cell? No matter where we are or what we're facing....we can find JOY in the good news of Emmanuel....God with us -- right smack dab in the middle of our circumstances.

Of course PINK would be the color of the day. Typically, PINK is girly -- we put our little girls in pink dresses or outfits with a pink bow in their hair to declare "It's a GIRL"! (In my case, my little Staci had NO hair so I scotch-taped a little bow on her head -- I know that's hard to believe when we see that massive head of hair she has today! LOL!). Sorry -- I took a rabbit trail from my train of thought about Advent. Back to my thought.....pink isn't just about girls. Hot pink, pale pink, rose pink are all shades of pink that God painted into a sunrise. And, like the various shades of pink, our expressions of joy can be so different. Joy can be exuberant -- that jumping up and down little child at the prospect of something that excites them so much, or MY daughter when she opened some of her birthday presents. JOY is also that calm and peaceful experience of God's faithfulness. It can be calm confidence in His sovereignty, or pure delight as He expresses His love. I felt that peace and calmness last night as I cuddled with my youngest grandson, here in Austin, for over an hour, watching a Christmas movie. I felt it when I laid beside him in his bed as I told him another "Super Brennan and Super Bryson" story.

Joy AND pink is also about survival. Oh, the sweet joy we feel when one of our friends expresses "I've just had my last treatment of chemo!" I loved hearing how on this Sunday, when PINK is the color of the day, one church celebrates breast-cancer survivors and women in the parish are given a pink flower in honor of the women who survived and are reminded to be screened regularly. That is a beautiful custom to have. Celebration of survival has truly come to be linked with "Pink" in our culture.

Bringing PINK back around to this 3rd Sunday of Advent, PINK is also about a BABY BOY that brought so much JOY to this world. That joy that should never be determined by how we feel, but on WHO God is. The joy of the Lord can thrill us AND it can make us steadfast in the secure knowledge of God's presence with us -- Emmanuel. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to be joyful always and Jesus tells us in Mark 9:24 "With God all things are possible." THAT combination of trust should help us.....carry on from this 3rd Sunday of Advent to EVERYDAY being JOYFUL!