The Virus Diary: Pre-Holiday Thoughts

It's the first full day of winter...and I've been whammed. (  I really thought I'd make it "this Christmas" seeing how I mostly listen to Sirius XM's Accoustic Christmas and Jazz Holidays at my desk and most recently during my drives to check in on my parents I've had Chris Isaak's Christmas  playing.  (Have a listen to "Washington Square," it's particularly poignant this year, although I find "Last Month of the Year" to be the most spiritually uplifting; something we all need.)  It was reasonable to think that I'd make it through the season without facing Whamageddeon, but I turned on the news this morning and got hit before they went to the weather.

I wish I could say that it the "worst" thing this holiday season, but you know it's not.

Just the other day, a friend went to the hospital and tested positive for Covid.  He was sent home, but ended up going back later as his symptoms worsened.  Am I worried?  Yes.  What can I do?  Physically not much; he live in a different state.  I am saying prayers for him and for those who care for him.  I have known others who have had Covid.  Some who have recovered and some who have not.  I worry about my parents, in-laws and other relatives who are at high risk. Even as vaccines begin to be distributed (HALLELUJAH!) there is still a long, dark tunnel to go down.

It's hard to feel festive when you know so many are suffering; when nothing is "normal."  While I have decorations up in our house (because that is a THING) for me, my parents have chosen not to do so.  I have been lucky enough to visit my parents twice during the month...keeping fully masked when I am in their house.  It will be strange not to see them, or any of my other extended family on Christmas day.  But then we have had other "strange" Christmases before.  The year my brother died.  The year my grandmother was dying (she passed away 2 days after Christmas.)  We got through that and we will get through this.  

As strange as this season has been, there are still moments of joy.  Every year Santa comes down our block (and every block in town) to wave, hand out candy canes and accept donations to our local food pantry.  This year it looked like that wouldn't happen.  But somehow it did (even if Santa couldn't hand out candy canes and donations had to be left by the curb instead of handed over.)  The expressions on my neighbors faces (who moved in this year just prior to the pandemic) as Santa came by on a fire truck were priceless.  And on that same day my son and his girlfriend decided to "play" outside.  (I know, teens don't play outside.)  They built a (small) snowman and I caught them in snowball fight which just might have been the highlight of my weekend. (Maybe even the month.)

I suspect new traditions may be born of this (like maybe an all pajama Christmas day?)  That would be a good thing.  I'm guessing that with only the three of us, the holiday meals (because I do plan to do something special on Christmas Eve as well as Christmas day) will be less stressful.  (Although I'm still a bit worried about the huge ham that I hope is slowly defrosting in our downstairs refrigerator -- the only place we could fit it!)  I have still been doing some holiday baking (and already most of the cookies have been consumed by my son; don't tell him that I hid a few so that I could share them with family and friends who will not be able to join us this year) but I actually tried a new recipe (several different ways; some which worked out better than others.) I'm even considering going to a late evening virtual Christmas Eve service in my holiday pajamas! (I am still planning on attending an in person Christmas Eve service as I have been doing for more years than I care to count.  But I will be wearing a mask, as will everyone who attends and I suspect that very few people will actually attend due to the pandemic AND the fact that it is supposed come down in buckets on the night of the 24th.)

So even though this may not be the holiday we wanted; it is still a time to open our hearts.  Even with the grim, there is still a light that shines in the darkness.  Even when we cannot be physically together, we can be together in spirit, knowing that by making a "sacrifice" this year, we will have the opportunity to be together again next year.

To quote from the great Dr. Seuss:  "Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" 


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