1. Gaudete Sunday
This week is the third Sunday of Advent, often referred to as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete, the Latin word for “Rejoice,” is the first word that appears in the mass for this week. Many Protestant denominations, including Anglican and Lutheran churches, celebrate this joyful day. While other Sundays in Advent can be construed as “waiting in the dark,” Gaudete Sunday is known as “Rose Sunday” or “Pink Sunday,” as the color of the Advent candle this week is pink. This Sunday, break out your pinkiest pink and rejoice in coming salvation.
2. Advent rituals
One of the things I appreciate about Advent is the rituals that happen in my household. A candle counting down the days until the 25th is lit, we move the candy cane over one day on our hanging fabric Advent calendar, and we sing Advent hymns, sometimes on repeat because you can only sing so many in a 25-day period! I would invite you to think about what Advent rituals you might incorporate into your daily routine to set this season apart.
This season is all about giving. For many, this involves material gifts. Receiving gifts is a love language for many. But when Christmas rolls around, I try to think of people and what I know of their love language. I know for me, quality time and words of affirmation (if I’m allowed to have two!) are really important for me. Receiving material things is always a thoughtful gesture, but not as “needed.” For those with whom you are close, especially when you think of a person that’s difficult to shop for, think of their love language. A letter telling them how much you appreciate them (words of affirmation), a good cuddle (physical touch) or offering to make dinner (acts of service) might be just what they really need for Christmas.
Hygge (pronounced HOO-guh) is a Danish concept that is roughly translated to “hug,” or maybe more appropriately, “cozy.” For me, it’s best described as simple, warm and soothing. This time of year for those living in colder climates, there’s often lament around the departure of summer and fall, the cold, short days, and inconvenient weather. For me, I crave (for a certain time period) blankets, fuzzy socks, baked goods, candles and a good book or show. I’ve been contemplating having a hygge sabbath this winter. So when the weather is not what you want it to be, or in my case, what it is what you want it to be, consider slowing down, surrounding yourself with light and warmth, and do your best to recharge.
5. Mental health
I talk about mental health frequently with Five Things, but I think it’s especially important this time of year. For those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or any sort of depression struggles, the shorter days, isolation or too much stimuli, what feels like forced happiness, and difficult relationships with friends and/or family can exacerbate symptoms that lie just below the surface. What is supposed to be a season of joy can leave people feeling left out if their minds simply can’t go there. Look out for your friends who struggle with mental health this season. Let them cry, not participate in Christmas, or talk through their feelings when needed. That might be just the Christmas gift they need.