Advent: The Light in the Darkness
Have you ever felt “spiritually dry”—that sense of struggling to pray, not feeling connected to the Creator, or even doubting? Maybe you’re not praying as much or wondering what you did to deserve something bad happening in your life. I certainly have, and I know I’m not the only one.
What brings periods of spiritual dryness? For some it’s grief, and for others it’s poor health, monotony, or even boredom—having too much time to think. Perhaps it’s connecting more with the secular than the spiritual or an event that shakes your faith.
Personally, I’ve been “whammied” by many of the above, simultaneously and for months. And when I forget to turn to God—or perhaps stubbornly choose not to—it’s easy to feel desolate and alone.
However, even during periods of spiritual dryness, God, in His infinite love, gives us redeeming moments. He keeps reaching, striving to pull us back in. When I think of these glimpses of God, I am reminded of the Star of Bethlehem, the light in the dark, the guidepost for the Magi. It’s a reminder of Advent’s purpose: an intentional time of hope… of joy… of love… of peace. It’s the time when we purposely focus on the awe-inspiring reality that God delivered His Son as an infant into this often-dark world.
We each likely reflect on the Christmas miracle a little differently, depending on who we are at this time and our own life experiences. I can’t help but view the Nativity through the lens of motherhood, trying to relate to Mary, to her hope and persistence. Confronted with the dark possibilities of being cast out of society and losing her husband while bearing the Son of God, she still said, “Yes.” As Jesus grew, I imagine countless days of fear and worry, of chasing a toddler and bearing constant crying. She likely encountered illness and certainly endured grief. I find it comforting to know that she experienced many difficulties we face today, and that, if we ask her, she will pray for and with us from Heaven.
As we enter Advent, I pray you will join me in making this a time for intentional prayer. Even if everything feels dark, pray. Even when you feel you can’t, say a “Hail Mary.” Keep reaching for God, keep following His lights in the darkness, and embrace this season of hope, joy, peace and love.
Happy Advent and Merry Christmas.