December 12, 2020

Pandemic Reflections #8

"'Tis the season to be . . ." To be what? To be jolly? Unfortunately many of us may find it to be almost overwhelmingly challenging to find "jolly" amidst the pandemic this Christmas season. For those of us who have lost loved ones to the virus, or have others we care about laying in a hospital bed without visitors or, worse yet, are laying in the emergency room waiting for a hospital bed to become available, to step into the traditional merriment of the season almost seems inappropriate if not impossible. Many of us have friends and family who are serving on the frontline of this battle, constantly at risk of contracting the virus. The constant concern for these loved ones feels exhausting.

How, you may ask, are we to preserve our family Christmas traditions - to maintain some semblance of normalcy in an abnormal environment? Maybe we are being called upon to save the traditional Christmas experience for next year. This year may require making some changes, changes that we may not feel particularly fond of. Maybe we reconsider gathering in large groups with family members and/or friends to celebrate this special season of the year. Instead, what if we reached out to those we usually gather with via a phone call, or Facetime, or a Zoom gathering?

What if we rewrote the lyrics to the song referenced above to read "'Tis the season to be compassionate . . ."? Compassionate to those we know who are struggling this year. Struggling due to the death of a loved one, or struggling due to the loss of a job. Compassionate to those who are residing in a retirement or special care facility who are not allowed to have physical visitors. What if we stopped a moment and remembered those healthcare providers who are being pushed beyond belief to treat those in dire need of medical help. We need compassion today perhaps more than we ever have in our history. Let us not turn our heads away from the fact that we are losing lives to COVID every day.

It has, indeed, been a very difficult year. We have all been affected in one way or another. May we find a way to express some form of compassion toward our fellow human beings this season of giving through consideration, empathy, sympathy, and kindness.

Thank you all, from the bottom of our hearts, for allowing us to take this journey with you this year.

May you all have a very Merry Chris . . . a very Compassionate Christmas, and a very Hopeful New Year!