Gaudete Sunday: A Prayer of Hope

The coming week ends with the shortest and darkest day of the year.  It is a time of darkness, doubt, and fear.  And yet, this is also Gaudete Sunday.  

Gaudete is a Latin word meaning “Rejoice.” But, it’s actually worse than that: the Latin is in the Imperative, so it means “You shall Rejoice!”  

This Sunday is not just about rejoicing for what is good in our lives.  We are commanded to rejoice, no matter what.  

With that in mind, please join with me in a spirit of prayer… 

Lord God, we are determined to be people of faith, to share with all your gospel of hope, love and grace.

Yet, it is hard to remain hopeful in a world that is broken and failing.  It is hard to be filled with love for the other when loss and fear suffocates us and them.  And how can there be grace when hate buries love?

And yet, you call us to rejoice.  And so, we remember that no matter how dark the present hour, you are with us.  Your mighty arm protects us, your spirit fills us.  You will never forget or forsake us.  This we know: even in the absence of all other hope or love, you are with us.  Emmanuel.

And so, rejoice we shall, no matter what rages around or against or within us.  Our souls shall magnify you O Lord, for you are with us, even when all else that we trust is gone.  

Lord, we gather here so that the fire you have planted in each of us will strengthen and grow: becoming a mighty flame that brings hope where there is none, encouraging love to grow where it has too long been gone, and extinguishing fear in the hearts of all.

We rejoice in each other.  We rejoice in our faith.  We rejoice in your Gospel.  And, we rejoice in your presence here this morning.  

In all things we shall rejoice, Amen.

Delivered at Memorial Congregational Church UCC in Sudbury MA, December 15, 2019 (3rd Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday).

Copyright (c) 2019, Allen Vander Meulen III.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Author: Allen

A would-be historian turned IT Professional who responded to the call to the Ministry, and is now focused on social justice and community service. He is the proud father of a daughter and son, and enjoys life with his wife near Boston. You can follow Pastor Allen on Facebook at

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