As we celebrate and gather with our friends and loved ones, we also know that Christmas carries a profound weightiness—a reminder of loss and of all that has yet to be made right. Here, Jana Detrick, a first-year MA in Counseling Psychology student, shares her hope and prayer that the surprising scandal of the season will surprise her in her waiting and reach into her places of deepest loss.

Advent, you’re here again. And again, I’m met with the longing. This insatiability that is the most natural state for me. I ache. I yearn. I sigh and groan.

The world is chaos, madness, glory—longing to be transformed. Longing to rise from the ashes, to be made new, that somehow the deepest wounds could be touched and reminded that they matter.

And here I am, writing a paper about the losses in my life. And as is familiar, feeling so small, so insignificant—like everything I’ve been through is petty in comparison to atrocities worldwide and the unimaginable scars worn by brave others I know.

But these losses are mine, and they DO count. They matter. They may be invisible to the world, but something in me has to believe that the One who has witnessed my every heartbeat does count them, does see me, will arrive in my waiting.

The waiting seems like the only theme of my life—that and chasing.

Please, Babe of Bethlehem. Come as a surprise and scandal to me, too. Interrupt my way. Shock me with acceptance. Humble me with radical redemption.

Hold my weary heart and remind me I am not alone. Even if I’m repeatedly rejected and misunderstood. I’m not You, but You can relate. Even if I never feel quite at home, give my heart a home—however unconventional it may be. May I be at rest with me. May I be at rest in You.

Wonderful Counselor, bind up our shattered hearts. Mighty God, mend this Earth’s self-destructive madness, and let love rule. Everlasting Father, provide for our deepest needs, show us the radiance of Your face towards us. Oh Prince of Peace, let there be peace on Earth. When we feel most alone, remind us how we belong to one another. Abide with us, our comfort and joy, Emmanuel.

All of us at The Seattle School wish you, your families, and your communities a peaceful, restorative Christmas.