Today is Gaudete Sunday - Rejoice Sunday. Today's Epistle starts out this way: "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." And so we light the rose candle on the Advent wreath. And we focus on both hope and joy.
Here is an Advent prayer by the late Henri Nouwen that points to this invitation to joy:
Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light. To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”