“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24
The third Sunday of Advent traditionally has been associated by lighting a pink or rose colored candle that represents joy. As I think about joy and the invitation to “rejoice” from the Psalm above, that verse reminds me of how every Sunday morning began in my home church as we gathered for worship.
Every single Sunday morning, without fail, our Associate Pastor, Andy Walker, would step to the podium in the worship center and quote Psalm 118:24. It was like clockwork. I memorized Psalm 118:24 as a child because Andy Walker would say it each week. To this day I cannot hear or read that verse about making a choice to rejoice on this day without thinking of Andy Walker and those Sunday morning services at First Woodway Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.
It is interesting what shapes and stays with people throughout one’s life. I remember the year we got the news in our community that Andy Walker’s daughter, Patrice, had been involved in a car accident that tragically ended her life. It was close to Christmas time. A deep sadness permeated our church family as the news began to spread. I remember receiving this news and having the thought enter my mind not long afterwards: “I wonder if Andy would begin the worship service with those same words about making a choice to rejoice even on this sad day.”
When his world was the darkest and his heart was broken with grief, the next Sunday, too, was the day the Lord had made. Andy made the choice to rejoice, through tears, and decided to follow the Word of the Lord found in Psalm 118. He stepped to the podium like he had done hundreds of times before. Every eye in the place was fixed on him and then cheeks began to flood with tears as he invited us to remember: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
May these days of Advent be filled with rejoicing and gladness. May we lift our eyes to the hills from where our help is coming regardless of our circumstances. Andy Walker demonstrated a faith that is worth imitating in the darkest of times. May a rose-colored candle be lit in our lives that remind us of the joy we have in you. As your word says in another of the Psalms: “In your presence is fullness of joy.” May we be glad in you. May we be people who make the choice to rejoice in this day that you have made.