Written by Sophia Litkewitsch
I’ve felt a heaviness on campus this year, more than in previous ones. Every day seems to bring fresh news of scandal and disaster, making staying informed an exercise in either helplessness and the resulting frustration, or in pitting sanity against our duty to be engaged local and global citizens. This state of the world can inspire fear and fatigue, which isn’t to say that either is an unreasonable response, but I think we get into trouble when this kicks off a chain reaction.
Both on the news and in personal experience, I’ve observed a positive feedback loop between fear and a step away from people. The more afraid we are the less we want to interact with community, the less of the good in it we see, the more afraid we become and so on. In essence, fear becomes an isolating paralytic in the face of circumstances that call for united action.
At times like this hope can seem naive bordering on reckless, but what are Christian communities called to be if not sources and announcers hope? From the first Advent to this Advent, we have been called to embody and spread the Good News in the face of political turmoil, economic hardship, and terrifying uncertainty. And despite everything, the news can indeed be good. Not just in the abstract sense, not just in the liturgical sense, but in tangible, everyday ways. How? Because we have a say in it.
We are given the choice between disengaging or reaching out, isolating ourselves or bearing witness to the hope around us, surrendering to helplessness or starting where we are with what we have to try and be stewards of our world and our neighbors.
I’ve seen this on campus this semester so many ways; friends making sure everyone gets home safely on the weekends, TA’s and professors going above and beyond the call of duty to help their classes, students organizing and giving time to causes they believe in, and so much more.
Hope on this campus is not always loud. It is not always public. It does not always draw attention to itself. It isn’t even always confident; but it is very much at work. The hope we get to be witnesses of and servants to isn’t a dusty abstract concept, it is the call to action and all the ways we say “yes” to that call. It is the rejection of apathy and defiance of fear. So as we move together into this season of Advent, whether it is with words or actions, in bold proclamation or hesitant admission, let us declare together: The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.