This year too many of us are separated. Family members can’t come home for the holidays. Kept away by travel bans or fear of the virus. Those who do make it home get quarantined. Maybe stranded. We won’t have parties. The fairy lights feel forced. The songs sound hollow. Nights aren’t chilly. They’re cold.
This year too many are suffering. From the aftermath of disasters. From incompetence. From malice. From lack of empathy. Jobless, homeless, helpless. From plain, searing lack.
This year too many have passed away. Fathers, wives, confidants, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, friends. More it seems than in any other one year. And Christmas will be difficult. Because it's full of traditions. The things we always do together. The things he always says. The things she always does. Things we haven’t accepted will never be again.
Christmas, we are told, is a story of hope. As the birth of every child is an expression of hope for a better future, the arrival of that one baby in Bethlehem has to be a symbol of hope for the entire world and for all time.
Even if we sometimes question it. We need to cling to it to sustain ourselves. Our trials are far from over. Have faith.