The third Sunday of Advent is Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means joy. I planned an Advent gathering for the families of our parish for Gaudete Sunday. Here is the outline and activities:
Opening Prayer: Use the 3rd Sunday of Advent prayers for lighting an Advent wreath. Include a song if you’d like.
Short Teaching: Explain the purpose of the Advent wreath and the colors and why we use the pink candle today for joy. I also include an explanation of JOY as an acronym for Jesus, Others, You. You can read more about that here.
Craft: A set of 3 votive candles wrapped in colored paper with the letters “J” “O” “Y” on each to spell out JOY. You can use letter stickers or handwrite them. (I would do one set per family.)
Imaginative Prayer: Read Luke 2:1-20 slowly, asking everyone to close their eyes and visualize what is being read. Ask the group what they noticed, how they felt.
Closing: A birthday cake for Jesus. You’ll need to bake the cake ahead of time and then add the other elements when you are with the group. Here is an outline for the cake:
1. Make it round — like the never-ending circle of His love for all of us.
2. Make it chocolate — like the darkness our sins brings to us and others.
3. Make it covered with white frosting — like His purity covering our weakness.
4. Top it with a yellow star and put an angel —bearer of the first glad tidings.
5. Put twelve red candles on top — like the twelve months of the year that Christ is our light; red for the blood He willingly shed for us.
6. Encircle this loving cake with evergreens — the symbol of everlasting life.
I hope you can use this lesson or some parts of it to bring some Advent JOY into the season!