On the third Sunday of Advent, we light the candle for joy. Listen for the Word of God:
The Lord God’s Spirit is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim release for captives
and liberation for prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and a day of vindication for our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for Zion’s mourners—
to give them a crown in place of ashes,
the oil of joy in place of mourning,
and a mantle of praise
instead of a spirit of discouragement.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
planted by the Lord to glorify Himself.
They will rebuild ancient ruins
and restore formerly deserted places;
they will renew ruined cities,
places deserted in generation past.
Foreigners will stay and shepherd your sheep;
and strangers will be your farmers and vine dressers.
You will be called priests of the Lord,
“Ministers of our God,” they will say about you.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and fatten yourself on their riches.
Instead of shame,
their portion shall be double,
and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice over their share.
And they shall possess a double portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs.
I surely rejoice in the Lord;
For as the earth puts out its growth
and as a garden grows its seeds,
The Lord God will grow righteousness
and praise before all nations.
[Isaiah 61, adapted]