A DIFFERENT KIND OF HOLIDAY SEASON

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As we enter the new 2020 holiday season, we will do so in a manner that differs greatly from past years. This is the most sacred time of the year in a number of traditions, i.e., Christmas, Hanukkah, the winter solstice, and Kwanzaa for starters. It is normally a time set aside to focus on the people in our lives that we love, as well as place focus on people who are in need. Ironically, because of challenges with the COVID-19 virus, the configuration of these activities will be significantly altered this year. For one thing, in a season that focuses on togetherness, we are admonished to stay far apart from each other. People wait all year round for an opportunity to break bread and to exchange gifts with loved ones, some whom we may not have seen for a while, but we will have to keep our distance from them.

Fortunately, as human beings we can be very, very creative and resourceful. Because of this, many people will no doubt take their cues from the recent Thanksgiving holidays and get together virtually. It is not the best of all worlds, but we can make it work. With that said, we know that the season will not be all optimism and light, even though that is the desired experience. What is evident is that this holiday season will find us in a sea of change. This is not all bad; sometimes things have to happen to give us a wake-up call. That is the very definition of pain; its purpose is that of alerting us to the fact that something is out of place, and that a correction is needed. On a national and global scale, this is what is happening to people during this pandemic-challenged period.

What are some of the things that should give us pause? Generally, this season, especially the component connected with the Christmas holiday, has usually been focused on materialism. People give a great deal of thought to getting and giving gifts. This year, however, though gift-giving will no doubt remain a priority, a lot of people will be thinking about how much they miss human contact; they will be thinking about how important human relationships are because of a situation wherein a lot of deprivation will occur as a result of the COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions. We will miss each other.

Connected with this, but from a different angle, is the idea that people will be giving attention to how important all of us are to each other, and it will become clear that we do, indeed, bear responsibility for our actions toward each other. This will play out by observing the number of people who are committed to following simple guidelines designed to help keep us safe. This includes wearing masks and observing social distance rules. Once again, it is extremely ironic that during a time of togetherness we must remain apart in order to optimize our chances for basic survival.

On another note, we are in a time of great change, as already observed. Things are not going to be the same after all is said and done. It’s tantamount to seeing an accident or some other horrific situation and then try to unsee it. Well, we can’t. But as the saying goes, every cloud has its silver lining. Chaos is often needed in order to pick up the pieces to rearrange them in anticipation of better times and circumstances. This is where we are.

Let us all take this opportunity to give serious thought to this season. Let’s think about the meaning of giving with our hearts. Let our Christmas stockings be filled with love. Let the packages under our trees, whether physical, virtual, or conceptual, be filled with all of the things that the Christmas season represents.

As we all know, this is a time of renewal, since the Christmas holidays are smack dab in the middle of the winter solstice and the theoretical birth of Jesus, the Christ. Jesus’ message was essentially that we should love each other as he has loved us. That is the message of Christ. Love. Love in the face of the super dysfunction that is visiting the human family at this time. Love in the presence of hatred; love in spite of all of the obstacles that we will undoubtedly have to face during these difficult times. One thing is certain, however, and that is our challenges can make us strong. We can get through this. And when we do, we will discover that we will all be the better as a result. With this said, the Crusader wishes for you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season! A Luta Continua.

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