Christmas is going to be much simpler this year — no thanks to the pandemic.
For the first time in years, I won’t be going home to my family for the holidays. Instead I’ll just stay in Manila with my fiancée and visit her family on Christmas Day.
Being asthmatic, I find the risk of traveling at Christmastime quite high. Plus our hometown requires a two-week quarantine at their (subpar) facility; home quarantine is prohibited.
This is not altogether a bad thing, though. This pandemic-stricken holiday season presents an opportunity to reflect and focus on what truly matters. It’s an opportunity to see the bare essentials of life. And they are…
1. The Importance Of Family
Ironically many of us can’t visit our families this Christmas. But for good reason: we’re simply avoiding the risk of infecting them: our families are of utmost importance to us. It may not be uncommon to think that the best Christmas gift to our loved ones this year just might be safety and peace mind.
2. The People We Live With
Staying home during the holidays can also be an opportunity to get to know the people we deal with everyday on a deeper level. (In my case, my fiancee.)
Sure, we’ve been with them for most of the time this year. But then the context of that coexistence was work. It wasn’t so much being at home together, but being at work together.
3. The Birth Of Christ
Christmas is, after all, the feast of the birth of Christ. Now that we’re basically homebodies already, there is ample opportunity to reflect on the story of Christmas: how humbly God entered the world, in the form of a helpless Child; how desperate the external conditions of his birth were, yet how pristine the internal disposition of Mary and Joseph; how obscure — nay, repugnant — the place of his birth was (a manger!), yet how history-shifting it was, dividing the story of humankind between before and after that moment. It’s the story of humility and magnanimity — virtues that are especially essential today.
As we all celebrate Christmas in the coming weeks, I wish that we can at least keep the above considerations in mind. I think if we get these right, then we can more meaningfully do other things commonly associated with Christmas, like gift-giving, sending help to charities, decorating our homes, and so on.
Have a truly merry Christmas, everyone — can’t wait to ditch 2020!