What are you wearing?
It's a question we often hear before special events – weddings, galas, Christmas parties or other big celebrations. In these moments, our attire is chosen carefully to reflect the importance of the occasion, to express joy, respect, or celebration.
This Sunday in church, we embrace the color rose, a symbol of joy that gives us a break from the penitential purple of Advent. We light the rose candle of the Advent wreath and I am wearing rose vestments.
In wearing this color, the Church is teaching us that joy is not just a feeling, but a choice, an expression, a way of living in anticipation of Christ's birth.
In other words, the Church calls us to 'wear' joy.
What does it mean to 'wear' joy in our faith journey? How do we express and embody the joy of our relationship with Christ?
Isaiah speaks to us of being clothed in salvation and righteousness, garments representing the joy of God’s saving grace.
In the Magnificat, Mary 'wears' her joy and humility, expressing deep trust in God's strength and mercy.
Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians, urges us to 'rejoice always,' calling for joy as our constant spiritual garment.
And John the Baptist, in the Gospel of John, joyfully embraces his role as the one who points to the Light, Jesus Christ.
As we prepare for Christmas, how do we 'wear' this joy in our daily lives? Is our joy visible in our actions, words, and attitudes? Do we bring the light of Christ’s joy into our homes, workplaces, and communities?
This week I saw this great story in the news about what it means to 'wear' and share joy. At a school in North Carolina every third grader experienced an unexpected act of kindness.
These students had been given a task: to read the book 'Think Big. Work Hard. Be Kind. No Excuses' and then write an essay.
The prize was a new bicycle for three winners whose essays reflected their hard work and dreams. Obviously, there were several disappointed kids in the class who didn’t get a bike.
But the story didn’t end there. Unseen out in the hallway of the classroom, a group of 60 volunteers from a local insurance agency stood ready. Then came the announcement, 'Everyone gets a bike!'
The joy that followed was unbelievable – each child received a bike, a gesture of appreciation for their hard work and character.
This act of generosity wasn't just about bicycles. It was about creating a moment of pure, unexpected joy.
As we approach Christmas, let’s take inspiration from this story. How can we, in our own ways, spread such joy?
It doesn’t have to be grand; often, the smallest acts bring the greatest joy. Let us 'wear' our joy not just in our hearts but in our actions, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, the source of all joy.
In this season of anticipation and preparation, let the rose color of our vestments and candle remind us that joy is more than a feeling; it's a call to action.
May we not only embrace the joy of the Gospel but become bearers of joy, just as Christ brings ultimate joy into our lives.
Once again, what are YOU wearing? I hope you’re wearing joy.
Let us go forth, wearing and sharing the joy of the Gospel, as we anticipate the joyous celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord, and Savior. Amen.