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Sherry Antonetti began the Advent season with a tired spirit, but lighting that first candle began to rekindle her hope.

Flatness plagued my spirit from before Thanksgiving. Maybe it was the chemo that made everything taste like ash, or the fatigue, but my whole spirit felt tired of everything. I didn't just long for Advent, I wanted the jubilation that normally accompanied decking the halls, getting out the tree and setting up the nativity set.

We'd set up the tree at Thanksgiving so my college kids could participate and still, the dullness remained. I kept waiting for the joy to show up. We put candles on the table and still, I kept waiting to feel something better than I did.

After Confession and Mass, I felt like a child waiting for snow with none in the forecast, looking to the sky and hoping somehow the weather would change. The priest told me to ask for God to infuse me with His Spirit. I asked. Decorations in the first week of Advent proceeded apace, but we couldn't find the box with the crêches. I fretted as three trips to the basement turned up nothing. I worried because we'd gone through so many boxes with no luck.

Praying to Saint Anthony aloud in front of my 10-year-old, we made the fourth attempt -- and found it instantly. Finding the sets and setting them up, my heart felt lighter, like the first flakes falling.


white porcelain Nativity figures next to Advent candle

The first week of Advent was still unfolding, but hope is all about willing one's self to keep going even in the darkness, and thus the candle lit in this darkest time of the year seems brighter. Willing to be let myself be set on fire by the Holy Spirit meant acknowledging that without the Third Person of the Trinity, I would remain a dull wick covered in wax, that without God, all of life even with all its distractions, was dark and dull and lacked true fire.


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Ask and trust that God will light the wick of your soul. #catholicmom

If this Advent, you find yourself struggling, recognize it is a gift, the recognition of the darkness without God, designed to help you respond more joyfully to the Light of the World. Ask and trust that God will light the wick of your soul. Trust that this time can be a source of great spiritual fruit if you trust that joyful waiting involves some time of coping with impatience, with dryness, with darkness. (And seek even after you've looked and looked and looked, because eventually, you will find).

Copyright 2021 Sherry Antonetti
Images: Canva Pro