At this halfway point in the Advent season, we celebrate Gaudete (joyous) Sunday this weekend. For some, this time of Advent is truly joyous as we approach Christmas soon. Preparations for the coming of Jesus continue and homes are filled with Christmas decorations.
Yet, in the midst of all this joy, I would like for us remember those who struggling so mightily in their lives right now. We did a whole lot for those in need with our Paul’s Pantry drive at Thanksgiving and by filling nearly all the tags on the needs tree in our Gathering Area. In some small way, we all hope and pray that someone’s life is changed for the better by our actions. But what about those struggling with health issues? Instead of a Gaudete Sunday, this time of year only serves to make them feel more isolated. What about those who are missing loved ones – those who won’t be home for Christmas and those who lost a loved one in the last year or are still missing someone they lost in years gone by? The pain of missing someone you love is only deepened by this joyous season.
Is there a solution to all these issues? It is very hard to relieve the physical or emotional pain of others. Let us begin first with prayer. If you could, pray daily for these people, and if there’s someone specifically you know, make it a point to tell them you are praying for them. If there’s an opportunity to visit someone who is struggling, take the time to be with them. There may be nothing you can say to really ease their suffering, but simply being there and spending time with them may help them in ways you may never know.
It is my sincere hope and prayer you will experience hope and joy on this Gaudete Sunday and in the days to come. If you cannot experience this joy for some reason, know you will be in my prayers every day. May Emmanuel be with you!