Millennial Pink, also known as Rose Quartz, was Pantone’s color of the year in 2016.

This choice of color represented so much more than a hue we would find in clothing stores for years to come. It symbolized breaking down the gender norms in which society assigned specific colors to genders.

Millennial Pink symbolized a long coming shift in personal expression unbound by the restrictions of rigid definitions of masculinity and femininity. Millennial Pink was a marker for the destruction of life as we once knew it.

When this made the news back in 2016, my immediate thought was of the pink candle in the Advent wreath.

Before the silent night, before the calm of Christmas morning and cotton ball sheep snuggling the Christ in the manger, before the Christ candle is lit at midnight on Christmas Eve, we arrive at the joy of Advent, and greeting us is the shining light of a Millennial Pink candle.

The third Sunday of the eschatological season of Advent, Joy Sunday, or it’s French name Gaudete Sunday, does not often get the attention it deserves.

Sure, there is a stand-alone pink candle, and perhaps a local church will have a brass section for the anthem, but where is the pageantry? Where are the “Steel Magnolia”-level pink vestments and stoles?

This week’s epistle reading comes from Paul’s letter to the church at Phillippi: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

This is the Sunday amid the somber readings where we, those yearning for the long-expected Jesus, rejoice, knowing that love manifest is just on the horizon.

We rejoice in a peace that surpasses any worldly understanding of power. We rejoice despite the anxiety in the world around us. We rejoice in defiance of the hold fear has on this world.

We rejoice in the knowledge that the liberator of the world is coming to destroy life as we once knew it under an empire. We rejoice knowing that we not only wait on the Lord but also that the creator of the universe celebrates with us.

What would our Advent observance look like if, midway through the season, rather than merely observing the celebration of joy, we embodied it?

What if this year Advent worship included dancing and letting your gentleness and softness be known because your joy and hope does not come from a kingdom, but from love manifest as yearning for you and I to join in the “kin-dom” celebration?

In John Bell’s hymn “Jesus Christ is Waiting,” he writes, “Jesus Christ is dancing, dancing in the streets. Where each sign of hatred, he with love defeats. Listen Lord Jesus, I should triumph too. On suspicion’s graveyard, let me dance with you.”

The Jesus who bent norms and broke expectations of what he was supposed to be is inviting us to do the same.

On this Joy Sunday, where the softness of pastels and the tenderness of incarnation light the way to Christ, will you join the Christ in a defiant dance?

Editor’s note: This article is part of a series for Advent 2021. One article will be published each week, reflecting on one or more of the Lectionary texts for the coming Sunday of Advent, with a final article published during the week of Christmas. The previous articles in the series are:

Advent Lectionary | Hope, the Thing With Feathers | Kelly Belcher

Advent Lectionary | The Earliest Soundtrack | Richard Wilson

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