As we light the third candle this week, we meditate on joy.

There is a lot of hurt this time of year. Family situations may be tense at best, hostile at worst. Lingering, or revisited, sadness over a loved one who has died. Money is tight for a lot of families, especially this year as jobs are being cut while prices continue to rise. Being the end of the year, some people become introspective and compare whether they are where they "should" be. Of course, many aren't. Sometimes there seems to be little hope, let alone joy...

"Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice."

Can I rejoice when I mourn? Can I rejoice while I consider how to pay my bills? Can I rejoice as I try to put on a happy face for the kids, or my mother? Can I rejoice as I look at all the things I had hoped to accomplish that are left incomplete?

With faith, I believe we can because our joy does not well up from an internal spring. Our joy is that God is with us. Our joy is that He comes to save us from our worry and our pettiness and our selfishness.

Some of my non Catholic friends have asked me about the colors of the advent candles and this is the one they found most puzzling. Still, isn't it wonderful to have this reminder to be joyful when the darkenss seems to have crowded out our hope? We await the Light of the World, but while we are waiting, we are still in darkness. These tiny lights of ours remember, and call out, to the Light.

I need not despair. My Rescuer is near!


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