On this Gaudete Sunday, the Church reminds us of the call to rejoice. “Be happy at all times,” says Paul in this weekend’s second reading. We are called to have so much hope in our hearts and trust in God that we are able to do nothing but rejoice whatever life throws at us. In the readings of this weekend’s Mass, we sense a feeling of anticipation growing among the people. And this expressed itself in a very practical and concrete way. The people were instinctively drawn to make changes in their lives in order to be ready welcome the promised Messiah. They believed that God was faithful to his promise, generous and intimately close. They had every reason to rejoice. As Advent progresses and Christmas draws near, our waiting gives us a heightened awareness of God’s presence among us and openness to being changed and blessed by it. As Christmas draws near, let us join Saint Paul in glorifying God for sending Christ to walk alongside us on this earth. Let’s resolve that this year’s Christmas celebration will be a heartfelt and generous community celebration of divine grace.