you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care.
Come and show your people the way to salvation.
— from Evening Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, December 17
In my mind, these last days of Advent, when the office moves from the usual daily round, where the propers are defined by where the days falls, and not by our proximity to the great feast, are inextricably wound up with final exams and endings. The last classes, last papers, final exams, final good-byes to students with whom I have spent long hours. And grades. Final grades.
My job is wisdom. Not just delivering content, but helping students develop in their ability to wield what they know well and wisely. In the end, though, I must somehow decide, using a single axis, how wise in the ways of chemistry I think each of my students is. So like many of my students, who are undoubtedly praying for wisdom as they approach finals, I, too, seek wisdom at this time of year. Wisdom that is both tender and strong, that can with justice and fairness tell my young chemists how wise they have become.