First Friday of Advent

December 4, 2020

First Reading Isaiah 29:17-24
Gospel Matthew 9:27-31

Artwork by Minh Nhat "Tim" H. | Class of 2022

And out of the gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see.

- Isaiah 29:18

During COVID-19 and distance learning, there have been clouds looming over our usual routines. Relying only on technology as a conduit for learning is limiting and draining. We lack that substantive human presence to nourish and grow in knowledge and faith. There is gloom. There is darkness. There is hope.

Rays of light illuminate my classroom casting glares on my computer screen. Is this light coming from outside, or from the inside? A student asks a question, they smile, they say thank you. Even on a little artificial screen, the blinders recede and the eyes open - I want to learn, I want to grow, I want to believe. Check-ins and exit tickets become essential during these times. We care about each other.

On Friday, October 16, Mr. Olson and I set a course and traveled to Tukwila and Burien to deliver cookies, signs, and cards to 20 students. I never realized how much I missed seeing students in person. The first student we encountered was somewhat surprised, but overjoyed that we took the time to visit.

The cookie was a little crumbled, and the card was a little smudged, but the message was clear: we care.

We left reassuring our students we would see them soon. Throughout our journey, there were gated obstacles, navigation challenges (GPS technology is not always accurate), and barking dogs, but our minor hesitation turned into joyful evangelization. The smiles of students and parents were overwhelming.

We were welcomed, we commiserated, and we shared the hope of being together again at school. Towards the end of our mission, people were waiting at the door for our presents and our presence. I am reminded how Jesus said, “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” My eyes have been opened. May you enjoy hope, and embrace patience, during this Advent season.

By Mark Ralston '83
Theology Teacher