Third Sunday of Advent Date in the current year: December 11, 2016

Third Sunday of Advent Many Western Christian churches observe Advent, a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of Christmas. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. The third Sunday of Advent is known as Gaudete Sunday.

The third Sunday of Advent takes its name from the Latin word Gaudete that means “rejoice”. It is the first word of this day's Mass: “Gaudete in Domino semper” (Rejoice in the Lord always). Gaudede Sunday can fall on any date from December 11 to December 17.

As Advent is a kind of counterpart to St. Martin's Lent, Gaudete Sunday is considered to be a counterpart to Laetare Sunday, the fourth Sunday of the Lent season. On this day, priests sometimes wear rose vestments instead of violet. The change of color lightens the mood and helps continue the spiritual preparation for Christmas. The day's readings relate to Saint John the Baptist.

In the Advent wreath, a rose colored candle is lit in addition to two violet or blue colored ones. This candle is often referred to as the candle of joy or the candle of the shepherds.

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