Warm Holiday Greetings from our Head of School

As we break for a long holiday from school, we find ourselves in the midst of advent, which in the Christian tradition is a time of waiting for the birth of Jesus. It is a time of quiet expectation. The days are shorter and darker, calling us to huddle around the light and fire, to wait for the hope of a new birth and a new way forward. The Bishop of Washington, Marianne Budde, describes this time as “a season of watching and paying attention. Scripture teaches us that faithfulness is needed most in unsettled times, when we do not know what each day will bring.”

One of the most blessed gifts of my own life is that I am a witness to the beauty of the Grace community each day. Every morning when I am greeted or given a hug by one of our students, I feel restored and committed to supporting and guiding this school in the best ways I know how. Just last week in chapel, I watched two students as they tenderly held hands while listening to Ms. Sheldon’s homily. They were the touchstone for each other and the vision of their actual connection was enough to warm your heart for days to come. It was sign of goodness that morning and I am glad that I was paying attention so that I could witness it.

In truth, we know that there is hardship and grief in our world. Sometimes I wonder if I should stop having a paper delivered. I do not find it an easy thing to see some of the headlines in black and white on the breakfast table as I am preparing for the day ahead. And yet, I see real grace each day in the children and adults who are this community. I see real love and real hope and I can’t imagine a life without it. What I cling to in this season of advent — and these are all accessible in a school that makes space for reflection and prayer — is a dedication to looking for the light and the signs of hope.

What I hope for as we depart to be with our families and celebrate the holidays is the space for all of us to pay attention to the good in the world. For many of us, the growth of our children into another year is miraculous, fleeting, and even a tad bittersweet. May we find a way to make space for the warmth that will come from our time and connection to them and to each other. May we find the presence to pay attention to the signs of hope and good in our lives and in the world. I know that it exists in the vibrancy that is Grace. I will look forward to seeing you all again in 2018.