Christmas with Corona
Christmas 2020 will certainly be unlike any other Christmas. Most of us have already missed out on large family gatherings over Thanksgiving, feeling guilty as we left our elders to endure it alone. Some chose to brave the crowded airports and planes as if this Thanksgiving was just business as usual. Nothing would get in the way of their vacation. The after-effect, just two weeks later, is a sudden spike in Covid cases and record-breaking hospitalizations and deaths. December 9th was a day to remember as Covid deaths escalated over 3000, more than our landmark 9/11 attack or the San Francisco earthquake in 1906. This is a reality we cannot ignore.
Even before Corona, some of us are devastated during the Christmas season. It is a cruel reminder of loved ones lost, and the emptiness brought on by their absence. Many are separated from those quarantined in hospitals, or our loved ones have become victims, fatalities even, of this dreaded.disease. The only thing I can suggest to you is to focus on the family that is with you now, to lift them up with your presence and count it all joy. Keep yourself busy. That's what I did on the first Christmas after my husband died. I cooked and cleaned. I entertained. I took every opportunity not to dwell on the fact that he was gone and we would never share another Christmas. My sons and grand supported me and I made it through the day. You can, too.
So how will we survive this Christmas season? Our first priority must be to keep ourselves and those we love safe. If it means wearing a mask when we go out, then we must do it. If it means social distancing even at the grocery store or work, then we must do it. If it means turning down visits from well-intentioned family and friends, then we must do that, too. If it means forgoing our favorite restaurants and either having a meal delivered or cooking at home, then we must do that as well. You’d be surprised at the number of people who have enhanced their culinary skills during quarantine, and enjoyed it in the process. We’ve mastered new recipes, new cooking styles, new memories and skills that will last way beyond the pandemic. Cooking is one of the benefits of being quarantined. We’ve been forced to eat healthier, explore new dishes, and enjoy the process. We were too busy before. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.
But still, we will miss the big family dinner, the opening of presents, and the company of those we love. Think instead, of the simplicity of enjoying a great meal with our immediate family, those with whom we live, even if it’s only one person. We can still put up our tree, give special gifts to each other, either ordered online or handmade. We can still set a beautiful table and share personal messages, expressions of love and gratitude. We can still enjoy the Christmas spirit, and remember why we celebrate it in the first place, not for the commercialism or gifts, but because Christmas symbolizes the birth of Christ. Jesus IS the reason for the season. So we don’t get to attend church or have the Christmas concert this year. Look beyond that to the many celebrations to come. If we don't take the rules of quarantine seriously now, we may not get a chance to share the holidays with our loved ones in the future. This pandemic is real.
So as you face what may seem like a less than ideal Christmas, think of the joy you can share with the people closest to you: your husband or wife, your children, your parents, another relative or roommate. You'll have room for everyone at the table and much less stress in the process of preparing the meal. You can relax and enjoy the day. If you live alone, you can savor a good book you've been wanting to read, or enjoy a movie marathon. Remember that this will be just one of many Christmases to come, but only if you and your loved ones remain safe. This can be a time of spiritual growth, a closer walk with God. You now have time to meditate or redecorate. People that I know have developed amazing new skills, from making jewelry, wreaths and orgonites, designing and making clothes, to activities ranging from from cycling to dance. I, of course, am trying to write more, to develop my blogs and write my next book. The choice is yours. For whatever reason God has brought this plague upon us, it has given us an opportunity to show our love and gratitude, to improve ourselves, and to grow closer in spirit to Him and those we love. And that is the real gift of Christmas and New Year’s. Happy Holidays!
Here is a video from the Tamron Hall Show about the choir, Voices of Fire, They are sponsored by Pharrell Williams and feature singers who have overcome overwhelming odds, from suicide attempts to handicaps and near-death experiences.The end features a socially-distanced performance of Angels We Have Heard on High, a Christmas favorite, that shows us we can carol even in quarantine. Share the joy. The show, Voices of Fire, is featured on Netflix.