And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:8–11
Shepherd’s candle: Joy
The third candle is called the “Shepherd’s Candle” and symbolizes joy. Rather than purple as the other candles, this candle is pink, the liturgical color for joyfulness and rejoicing. The third Sunday of Advent is also called Gaudete Sunday by some traditions, coming from the Latin word, gaudete, for rejoice.
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Philippians 4:4
This candle reminds us of the joy the world experiences because of the birth of Jesus. To the shepherd’s great joy, the angels announced that Jesus came for them as well—humble, simple, unimportant. Indeed, Jesus comes to bring joy, faith, and hope to all people. Especially to the least—the tired, discouraged, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the poor, the captive, the oppressed.
And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him (Jesus). He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” Luke 4:17-21
The desert will rejoice, and flowers will bloom in the wastelands. The desert will sing and shout for joy; it will be as beautiful as the mountains and as fertile as the fields. Everyone will see the Lord's splendor, see his greatness and power. Give strength to hands that are tired and to knees that tremble with weakness. Tell everyone who is discouraged, “Be strong and don't be afraid! God is coming to your rescue, coming to punish your enemies.” The blind will be able to see, and the deaf will hear. The lame will leap and dance, and those who cannot speak will shout for joy. Streams of water will flow through the desert; Isaiah 35:1-6
We who have been observing Advent can rejoice that we have reached the midpoint in the season of anticipation of Jesus’ birth as we eagerly wait for his future return—a day when all creation will rejoice. Until then, we will sing to the Lord and bless his name, telling everyone everywhere that Jesus Christ has come.
Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth! Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples! For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. Psalm 96:1-4
grace and peace