As we begin Advent this week, I’m in an introspective, reflective mood. A year ago, I was in a very different place. I was burned out, frustrated, and feeling stuck. Advent was a welcome season as I waited for God to show up and move. I prayed big prayers, asking God to move in ways I couldn’t imagine, to show me a new path that I couldn’t yet picture.
One year later, I am emotional thinking of all the ways God has answered those prayers—the ways he showed up in the midst of pain and carved a new path I couldn’t have imagined. The Perch is part of the answer to those prayers, and I feel blessed every single day that this is the work and ministry I get to do.
Though I’m personally in a much better place this Advent, I still ache with the world for Jesus’ return, praying that God would show up, that he would make a new way that we can’t see yet. There is so much pain in the world, so much that is not the way God intended, and we desperately need his kingdom, his way, his presence. The lyrics of O Holy Night always strike me to my core:
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!
Just think about that for a moment: When Jesus appears, the soul feels its worth. What might change in this world if we felt deep in our soul our true worth?
As the world aches for restoration, I consider it an honor to provide space and skills for soul care through The Perch. This is what the world needs right now: we need the space and skills to connect in meaningful ways with God, others, and ourselves. We need to grow in our understanding of God’s love for us. We need to grow in self-awareness and self-kindness. We need to grow in tools for healthy relationships and communication. We need to grow in skills for living in the tension between knowing the way God intends things to be and understanding the reality of the world right now. And the path forward is through soul care practices.
As you prepare for Christmas this month, I want to invite you to find a quiet moment to practice some contemplative prayer, read the Christmas story in Luke 2, take a walk among the bare trees reflecting on your blessings, or try this simple prayer exercise:
Light a candle and sit near it. Read John 1:1-5, 14 aloud. Then as you look at the light of the candle, reflect on the darkness you’ve experienced over the last year and how God has brought light to that darkness. Then pray: “God, thank you for bringing light to our darkness. May you grant me eyes to see the ways you are scattering the darkness with your light, and may you give me the courage to bring your light to those around me. Amen.”
Looking to gather with us this Advent? Join us this Saturday, December 8 for a fantastic workshop full of ideas for practices that can help you find peace in the midst of a chaotic season. And check back Saturday when we’ll announce another opportunity we’ll have to gather this month.
Praying that you find rest and peace in this season of waiting.
Amy Jackson is founder and director of The Perch.