The third Sunday in Advent is called Gaudete or Joy Sunday, when we traditionally light the pink or rose coloured candle. Looking around at the world – or looking around our own neighbourhood – it often seems that joy is in short supply.
The Gospel reading for this week – the preaching of John the Baptist in Luke 3 – seems an odd choice for Joy Sunday. It is a thundering message on the need for repentance with a strong link to justice and just living. Those who fail to share their resources, or who game the system for their own benefit, or who bully others risk missing out on God’s kingdom.
So where is joy to be found? At a community lunch held this week at Croydon North for people that our society regards as nobodies. In the eyes of an asylum seeker who is finally granted a visa ensuring their safety and freedom. In helping the rural poor make a fresh start. God is at work in the world bringing little flashes of joy. Open your eyes and you might be surprised by what you see.