Advent calendar and prayer for 17 December – Third Sunday of Advent

Marvellous Moo Cow World Gift CAFOD

Afera from Ethiopia is rich in joy, thanks to the gift of a cow

My soul glorifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.

Psalm Lk 1:46-50, 53-54. R. Is 61:10

Today is Gaudete Sunday, which means “rejoice”. During Advent, there is much talk of rejoicing and joy. But how – when there are countless things that get us down – how can we allow our hearts to be joyful? 

Our joy comes from God. In today’s second reading, Saint Paul tells us, “Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24).

Saint Mother Teresa once said, “Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Be happy now and if you show through your actions that you love others, including those who are poorer than you, you’ll give them happiness, too. So smile, be cheerful, be joyous that God loves you.” (A Book of Peace)

Through prayer, we can allow the joy of Christ to fill our hearts. And by sharing with our sisters and brothers living in poverty, we will draw closer to Jesus, and grow in love.

The fullness of joy

Afera lives with her family in northern Ethiopia. Her husband was wounded in conflict. Afera once struggled to put food on the table. Although she has humble means, she is rich in joy.

Afera was given the gift of a cow by a CAFOD supporter, which gave birth to calves a few months later. She makes butter which she sells at the local market. She now has the dignity of earning a living.  

This has helped to transform Afera’s life. She says, “I cannot compare my life before and after this cow. My children have delicious food. I am happy and better today because I can feed my children.”

Like Afera, let us live joyfully and give thanks to God for the blessings we are given.

Advent prayer

God of joy, for all I am, I thank you. Help me to grow closer to you in love, to love my neighbour, and to open my heart to true peace and happiness. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.  


Why not hold a cake sale in your parish or school? Take a look at our festive fundraising ideas. The money you raise could go towards a World Gift Marvellous moo cow, bringing joy to a family in poverty. 

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