This Sunday marks the third week of Advent, the season of preparation and anticipation. Christians have traditionally celebrated advent (4 Sundays before December 25) in preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. However, the word, Advent, simply means Arrival, and so whatever celebration or holiday you celebrate this time of year, you can create your own meaningful”countdown” for this approach. Many cultures and religions have these types of preparatory periods which they use for review, reflection, composing, and contemplating before a specific celebration. (In fact, there are many more similarities in the various religions, cultures, traditions, than there are marked differences. But this is for another post, at least.)

On the third Sunday of Advent, we light the pink candle. Gaudete is Latin for “Rejoice”. According to Pope Francis, “Gaudete Sunday is known as the Sunday of joy, and that instead of fretting about “all they still haven’t done to prepare for Christmas, people should think of all the good things life has given you.”

Historically, Advent was characterized as a season of pentitence and fasting, a kind of counterpart to Lent. But today, December 13, 2020, (Gaudete Sunday) provides a break from preparatory tasks, and cleansing body, mind, and soul to remember to rejoice. Recognize that “even in dark times, times of grief and sorrow, there can be joy in the knowledge that we are loved unconditionally, and nothing can take this love away.” (Laskey, Mike Jordan (11 December 2014). “This Gaudete Sunday, Rejoice Despite the Heartbreak All Around Us”National Catholic Reporter)

When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves. – Buddha

If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment. – Carlos Santana

Happy Holidays,


Christine Matteson, BC-DMT, LCAT, LMHC is a creative arts psychotherapist and mental health counselor in private practice in Syracuse, NY with over 24 years of experience. Contact: Website: