Well, it hardly seems possible that the luxuriously lengthy Thanksgiving break is coming to an end, and the Church's year is beginning again! The Church year begins with Advent, and the academic term ends with exams. They come at the same time. We begin Advent much as we ended the liturgical year: by considering the second coming of Jesus. At the beginning we look to the end. The beginning determines the end.
I have a feeling that the students sense that the end is near. Just as Christians should look forward to the second coming of Jesus, I guess that students should look forward to exams. At least that is what my Latin teacher in high school thought. He was amused that I was excited to be exempt from my final Latin exam after four years of study of that "dead" language. He saw the final exam as my opportunity to "show my stuff." And I was passing it up. What a shame.
If truth be told, I have always kind of liked exam time. That is, of course, easy for me to say now that I don't take exams. I really liked the end of term better than the beginning. And so I like the Church's emphasis on the end times at the beginning of the year.
Exams are frightening. The end of the world is frightening. The end of life is frightening. Our times are frightening. When I was in college it was "Morning in America." There is no sense of that optimism now. And yet we begin again another year of Our Lord. I pray that it may really be that: a year of Our Lord. That would make it the best of times. Come, Lord Jesus!