This Third Sunday of Advent is often called ‘Gaudete Sunday’ from the first word of the Entrance Antiphon in Latin: ‘Gaudete!’ – that is, ‘Rejoice!’

It is as though, like small children, we can barely wait to celebrate the wonder and joy of Christmas, the coming of Christ Jesus into our world. Indeed, we rejoice now because he is already here in the midst of us. We see that God exults in us, his people, renewing us by his love (First Reading).

We might want to pray using the words of the Psalm: ‘The Lord is my strength, my song, he became my saviour’. ‘Give thanks to the Lord, Praise his name!’. ‘Sing and shout for joy!’

St Paul (Second Reading) encourages us to have confidence in God, to be happy in the Lord. We do not need to worry, because if there is anything we need, we can ask God for it. God will give us a peace of heart and mind that is far greater than we can grasp or understand, keeping us safe in Christ Jesus.

In the Gospel, the people come to John the Baptist to ask him, ‘What must we do?’ to prepare for the coming of the Christ. The answer is not the same for everyone, but all are asked to share with those who have less than themselves.

Perhaps I ask the Lord: What must I do to prepare for your coming this Christmas?