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In the tradition of the ancient Church, Advent 3 is called Gaudete Sunday, Gaudete from the Latin, Rejoice!

It's a good time, this deep into the Advent season of fasting and repentance in preparation for the Lord's coming, to remember the real "reason for the season” which of course is Jesus and the JOY that Jesus brings.  Today we are encouraged to remember the joy that is ours because we have been redeemed! it is a fait accompli!  We have proof in Jesus that the Lord is to be trusted, God's word is good, God has not abandoned and has, and will, redeem God's people and the whole of God's own creation.

The lectionary offers a choice between psalm 126 which features the beautiful stanza: 

                           Those who go out weeping,

               bearing the seed for sowing,
                      shall come home with shouts of joy,
                  carrying their sheaves.

And Luke's account of the Magnificat, Mary's proclamation to her cousin Elizabeth about what God has done in her life and what that action would mean for the rest of the world.  I have included both this morning because both point to the call of our God to rejoice.

The Gospel text for today is John's version of what Mark gave us last week.  An account of this wild figure John the Baptist.  In John we see, for all time, the perfect model of discipleship.  John is pointing ...always pointing to Jesus, he is never confused about his place in everything.  John is "the voice of one crying in the wilderness Make straight the paths of the Lord" and in so doing is showing us the way