The whole world has seemingly gone topsy-turvy. Nothing is as it was, and it appears that it will only get worse before it gets better.
We can take Joe Biden’s word for that. The “hopeful-incoming president” didn’t have a consoling word for Americans – just that things are bad, and they don’t look good for the future.
Thanks, Joe. That’s just what we need as we face a new year filled with omens of difficulties and problems for everyone.
Aren’t leaders supposed to give the people words of encouragement even during times of difficulties? Look back in history at times of war. Even then, we were urged not to give up and to know we are being supported for the future.
But things have changed in these days of COVID. We are told that it is here, is spreading and, in fact, is getting worse. There is no real prevention – regardless of the varied vaccines being released – save for us staying away from people, even family, and yes, wearing a mask.
That means that most, if not all, of our traditional holiday celebrations have been cut short. We are told not to travel, yet news reports are that airlines are packed with passengers. Are these people stupid, or do they just feel that their personal lives are more important than government dictates as to our behavior?
It doesn’t matter. They are doing what they want to do during this important holiday season in their lives – whether for religious reasons or just for festive reasons.
Children can’t have their Christmas pageants. Santa may be there at a mall, but he’ll be encased in a plastic house. It does take away from the personal touch for the kids.
Office Christmas parties are now a thing of the past as are other general celebrations – the company saves money but also cuts the risk of any of those people becoming infected with COVID and contaminating the entire facility.
And what about religion? Remember the line “Jesus is the reason for the season”? It’s not a joke. Christmas is the celebration (recognition) of the day that Jesus Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem. Christians have celebrated that day since it occurred, and it is a very holy celebration.
Non-Christians adopted the celebration part, and it has evolved into the day we recognize today, even being an official national holiday in our country.
But it’s different in 2020 and for the foreseeable future. In many places, religious services have been forbidden. Services for many denominations have been relegated to outside the church building. For many of the others, they are just canceled.
Needless to say, the reaction has not been good, and the challenges to the rules in many cases have wound up in the courts. We are guaranteed freedom of religion in the Constitution, so these challenges continue. Some have been victorious for the church in question while others are still being battled.
I don’t know about you, but after weeks of no Masses at my church, we now have outside Masses. In fact, we’ve been given the schedule for Christmas Masses – all outdoors, with the warning that it’s cold, and rain is predicted, so dress appropriately. Oh, and wear a mask.
All the while, the beautiful church building is empty.
And while we are faced with the news of COVID in our country, we are given the news that the virus and its mutations are spreading around the world – even to Antarctica. England is locked down and travel everywhere is restricted as the number of deaths increase.
With all the domestic restrictions, American businesses are facing a crisis of unforeseen consequences. I don’t know about your town, but mine is filled with empty storefronts. Businesses that I’ve depended on for years are just gone. The owners have lost their sources of income, communities have been devastated. In a way, we all share this crisis. How we will recover? I don’t know. I admit, I fear for the worse.
I remember seeing pictures of situations like this from the Great Depression in the ’30s. It was hard to imagine, but I recall my parent’s telling me about it. It was not easy for them to survive.
I also remember the pictures and stories of the economic situation in the Soviet Union where people could only get a small piece of meat in weeks and the stores had nothing but empty shelves.
Shades of now, when I go to the supermarket to buy paper towels or toilet paper, and the shelves are empty. Just like in Russia. I never thought ‘d see that in this country – but here it is.
And yet, while we lament the devastation from COVID, life and nature continue. Perfect example: Here in California the weather forecast for Christmas and the following days and week is for cold temperatures, wind and rain!
And yet, we still have fire. Early morning reports on the 24th were about a massive brushfire in the hills north of San Diego, on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Overnight, more than 7,000 people were ordered to evacuate the base communities and in the nearby community of Fallbrook.
It’s called the Creek Fire, and at 7:30 a.m. it was reported to be 35% contained. But by 9 a.m. that changed. Officials said the fire by then burned over 3.000 acres and was ZERO percent contained. Steep terrain, strong winds and tough access make control difficult.
That’s California, and this is what we face, not only for the Christmas season but for the New Year.
Cheers, everyone – and smile.
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