One of my favorite Christmas songs is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” For some reason, I’ve always found its somber calls enchanting. In truth, it’s more of an Advent song than a Christmas song since it brims with the longing and expectation of the Messiah to come. There’s a longing in those words “O Come!” Even the refrain which calls us to rejoice looks to his future coming rather than his imminent arrival. He “shall come”, not he “has come”. There is a tension and a faithful, hopeful waiting.
On college campuses, there is a tension and waiting now, too. Students are either waiting for finals or final grades. Some are anxiously awaiting the freedom to return to their homes to celebrate with their families, or, in some cases, dreading that same return, perhaps due to their academic failures or dysfunctional home lives. For some, hope and dread may intermingle.
When we look to the second advent, the return of Christ, we too may look with hope and dread. Our hope is in Christ, but our dread maybe for those that have not heard the Gospel or have spurned its message. The advent, the coming, is joyful but it also signals an end of opportunity. The final grades are posted. We pass or we fail. Thankfully our hope is not in our own ability or virtue but in the sacrifice of the Savior. But during this season, may we share that hope with others that we may all proclaim, “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come!”