This is what gaudete means to me: to be unable to avoid the joy of movement under Christmas lights in a cold, dark town square, to live full of the warmth of brass, to be unashamed of dancing in public because it is harder to understand stillness than response.
I visited Pécs, a city in southern Hungary, at the beginning of Advent last fall, the night the Christmas market opened. I almost left Pécs after listening to the children's choir sing in the evening (well after sunset), but right as I was walking away the brass band began to play, and so I turned back. I turned back and listened and couldn't stand still, not simply because of the cold but also because the music and the spots of brightness in the midst of the dark required movement. The tall man was dancing, the little girl was dancing, and I was dancing. We danced alone, on different sides of the crowd, but we danced together, publicly, among all the others, and for once it didn't embarrass me. Light among darkness, music piercing quiet, dancing through stillness, community in solitude. It was beautiful, and it was Advent, and it was joy.