Let’s start first with what Advent is and is not in the Anglican Church. Advent is not just the “25 days before Christmas” because it can last longer than that and is much more than that also. Advent is a time of preparation and fasting to think on and become ready for the coming of Jesus in both the Nativity (Christmas) and the Parousia (2nd Coming). Advent is a time to do what I like to call ‘actively wait’ for the long-awaited Messiah. For me, Advent has been a time of deep introspection and honestly, most years, hits me harder than Lent in a lot of ways. Advent, like Lent, has a liturgical colour of purple to represent humility, melancholy, and penance.
So for one Sunday, right after the halfway mark to Christmas, we rejoice or gaudete the Lord, encouraging us to continue in the fast and penance as we lead up to the celebration of Christmas. Traditionally, the colour would be changed to rose or pink to signify this celebration. You may notice on our Advent wreath, there we light the rose or pink candle on this Sunday with only one more purple candle left and then the lighting of the Christ candle on Christmas Eve.
Here is a reflection for the lighting of the 3rd candle:
The Third Week of Advent
Leader: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
Light the first, second, and third candles. If there is a rose (pink) candle, it is the third candle. Unless Morning or Evening Prayer is to follow immediately, a lesson from Scripture may be read. Lessons may be chosen from the Daily Office lectionary in the Book of Common Prayer or the Jesse Tree devotion (below) or, beginning on December 16th, the devotion for the last days of Advent.
Leader or all together: Blessed Father, we pray that the whole world may share with us the joy of knowing you. Give faith to those who doubt; give hope to those who are in need; give love to those who are friendless and alone; and draw us all closer together in the power of your Holy Spirit and the presence of your Son Jesus Christ, who live and reign with you, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collect for 3rd Sunday of Advent: Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and
the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.
If a meal is to follow, the usual grace before meals is said.