Dec. 24, 2020
In my family, watching A Charlie Brown Christmas always kicked off the holiday season for us kids.
It drummed the meaning of Christmas into us, and many of those lessons still ring true today – in particular, the sentiment of peace on earth and goodwill toward others. In the context of a worldwide pandemic, that means protecting others and trying to keep everyone safe.
It’s been a very long year; for many, the most difficult year they have ever endured. Back in March, many of us thought life would be back to normal by now and we’d be celebrating the holidays and the end of 2020 with family and friends.
After the year we’ve had, it’s very tempting to ignore the health orders and take comfort in our traditions and our loved ones. I urge you to think of this Christmas as the latest lesson the pandemic has taught us, about the need to do our part and sometimes, to sacrifice some of our own joy and comfort for the good of others.
Just like the Muslim community couldn’t gather for Ramadan, and the Jewish community couldn’t get together for Yom Kippur or Hannukah, it’s important that we avoid our usual Christmas and New Year’s gatherings this year.
Let’s take a cue from Charlie Brown – let’s focus on others, let’s be grateful for what we do have, and let’s find a way to turn lemons into lemonade.
Create new traditions this year. Visit with family and friends online. Try out some of the fun free activities for all ages posted on our CoquitlamSPIRIT page at www.coquitlam.ca/spirit. Bundle up and get outside with your household for some fresh air and exercise. Walk the river, explore the parks. Keep your distance from strangers but don’t forget to smile at them as you pass by.
There’s no denying it – this holiday season will be difficult for everyone, and more so for some than for others. Please think about those in your life who are alone or who could really use a laugh or a talk over the holidays, and reach out to them.
If you’re a person who is finding it all too much to bear, there is no shame in asking a loved one for help, or in using the many free resources that are available right now, like the virtual mental health supports on the B.C. government’s website at www.gov.bc.ca/covid19.
Most of us will be more than happy to put 2020 behind us. And thanks to the hard work of scientists around the world, there is a glimmer of hope ahead for 2021. But that doesn’t mean we can let down our guard now. People’s lives and health are still at risk, and that will continue for many months ahead. We need to keep listening to the scientists and doing our part to protect our families and our community. We need to keep caring about others.
So let’s make the best of this holiday season and take comfort in knowing that 2021 will be a better year.
For those like me who celebrate Christmas for reasons of our faith, I wish you the most joyous and blessed Christmas. And to everyone in Coquitlam, whether this is a religious or a civil holiday for you, I wish you the best of the season and a happy and healthy new year.