Third Sunday of Advent

Third Sunday of Advent Quick Facts - DE

AKA NameGaudete Sunday, dritter Adventssonntag
HashtagsCompiled on#Advent
Related Hashtags#Advent, #Joy, #Christmas
2023 Date17 December 2023
2024 Date15 December 2024

Third Sunday of Advent

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The Third Sunday of Advent, also known as Gaudete Sunday, bears significant importance in the season of Advent, celebrated by many Christians worldwide. The term 'Gaudete' is derived from the Latin word for 'rejoice'. This Sunday embodies a shift from repentance to rejoicing, reflecting the nearing of Christmas, the celebration of Jesus Christ's birth. In liturgical terms, the rose-coloured vestments and candles symbolise anticipation and preparation for the joy and new life that Jesus' birth brings.

Focused on penance and preparation in medieval Europe, Advent originally started in France and eventually spread to Germany and beyond. Particularly in Germany, the Third Sunday of Advent holds a central place in the pre-Christmas traditions. During the Advent period, German people place significant importance on symbolism, demonstrated through wreaths, candles, and calendars. The lighting of the rose candle on Gaudete Sunday marks the halfway point of Advent— a reminder that the wait for Christmas is halfway over.

In Germany, the Third Sunday of Advent is observed with various religious and cultural rituals. Worship services entail special readings and hymns about the joyful anticipation of Christ's birth. Families often gather to light the third advent candle—the rose one—on their wreaths. In terms of timing, the exact date of the Third Sunday of Advent varies each year, as it is determined by the ecclesiastical calendar. However, it always occurs on the third Sunday before Christmas Day, falling somewhere between December 11th and 17th.

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Third Sunday of Advent facts & quotes

  • The Third Sunday of Advent is also known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete means rejoice in Latin. The origin of Gaudete Sunday comes from the bible verse Philippians 4:4: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Indeed the Lord is near.
  • A theme surrounding the Third Sunday of Advent is joy. Theologian and priest Henri Nouwen described joy as, the experience of knowing that you are unconditionally loved and that nothing-sickness failure, emotional distress, war, or even death- can take that love away.
  • The rose-colored candle is lit on the third Sunday as a break from the penitential purple of the other three candles. This lighter, brighter color reminds us of the joy that is coming with Christmas.
  • Many German households and churches display a Nativity scene, or Krippe, during the Advent season. On the Third Sunday of Advent, some families add the third figure – typically a shepherd or an angel – to their nativity scenes, which are completed with the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.
  • Baking Christmas cookies, or Plätzchen, is a popular tradition in Germany during the Advent season. Families often spend the Third Sunday of Advent baking a variety of cookies, which are then enjoyed throughout the holiday season or given as gifts to friends and neighbors.

Top things to do in Germany for Third Sunday of Advent

  • Pray and rejoice with joyfulness. The Third Sunday represents joy, an emotion that can be experienced through God's love.
  • This time of the year is often when many Germans participate in charitable activities, such as volunteering at food banks, donating to charities or supporting events that raise funds for various causes.
  • Visit a local church for an Advent service. Many churches have special services, prayers, and musical performances during this time of year to celebrate the season of anticipation leading up to Christmas.

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