By Rick Hinton
Christmas season, 2020 … where does the time go? Thanksgiving has once again come and gone. Black Thursday and Friday are past. The inside and outside of the home is decorated with Christmas regalia. Holiday music rolls out of car speakers. Christmas specials are on television. Yet … something is off. The feel is not the same.
What is the feel of Christmas? Well, it’s family, friends, relationships, hopes and dreams that will push us forward into 2021. Being part of a family is certainly what you make of it, however, it’s the ties that bind, leading us forward ultimately into the person we become. For me, Christmas defines and reinforces sense of family – near and far, lost and sometimes re-found!
COVID 19 has changed that feeling! It pretty much has all year.
The pandemic has changed the landscape of our gatherings and how we celebrate the holidays. My entire family tested positive for the virus, ending with one in the hospital and the rest sharing a silent Thanksgiving meal half the size of normal. There was no Black Thursday or Friday. My fingers on the keyboard did the talking on Cyber Monday. For many families now during this holiday season, it will be complicated; some face masks are harder to breathe through than others.
Many family members and friends, still among us, will share (if permitted to do so) in Christmas festivities: playing catch-up, gorging on a meal and opening presents. Many, however, do not have this opportunity – either presently quarantined, in the hospital, in healthcare facilities or deceased. As cycles dictate for those deceased, their stroll in the sun has ended. Photographs and memories are a comfort and reminder of their influence upon our lives. While not physically present for Christmas in 2020, in many ways, they will continue to live on.
Memories are a powerful resource! My mother passed on July 31, 2014. She never saw that year’s Christmas. Being bedridden for the preceding four years, she was always lucid enough during the month of December to insist that her family had a Christmas present to open under the tree on Christmas morning. That became my job, and memories I will always cherish!
Laura’s father passed on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. Laura brought his guitar home a couple of days prior. As Laura was filming the cats examining it, the strings suddenly strummed in a broad stroke. The cats were nowhere near it, yet you can hear the guitar and see their reaction. In our household, there’s nothing like spooks for the holidays!
I will not allow COVID to take everything away!
There’s the supernatural birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. It’s become a valuable part of our family tradition to embrace that fact and celebrate. No virus will take that away! Is the calendar correct? Did His birth occur during this time of year? Most likely not, but does it really matter? I don’t particularly care about the actual date, only the confidence that it happened! Jesus is the reason for the season!
And there’s Santa. Was there really a Saint Nick? Why yes, there was. Our childhood engulfed us with the mystery of his annual visit and presents under the tree. Christmas morning dawned with childhood wonder that something beyond the ordinary had occurred while we slept. Never mind the logistics of how that had happened over the course of just one night. You explain it to the young ones. Keep up the tradition. Santa is real … you just have to believe.
It’s a family thing!