Christmas During Our Pandemic, Does It Have to be a Bad Thing?
2020 has been difficult for the entire world. Celebrations, weddings, graduations, work, birthdays; were either postponed, or downsized. We have learned new words and phrases: Social Distancing and Zoom come to mind.
Being “stuck” in the house due to an enforced quarantine is not enjoyable. Everyone in our family except our youngest son Chris and my wife Norma have been quarantined at one time or another. The most common outcomes:
- Loneliness – it is a bit strange to be in your own home and have your food delivered to the foot of the stairs.
- Depression has increased to what are likely all-time highs. Even China, which does not say much about mental health issues, has said that 1/3 of its citizens have encountered depression.
- Weight gain – too much food, too little sweat. “Comfort food” has been needed. Brownies, peanut brittle and cookies with no broccoli or asparagus in sight.
- A period of social inaction results in poor social interaction. Have we forgotten what it is like to spend time with other people?
- Addiction to social media. If the inane were an indication of being insane then much of the world is “nuts.” Yet we read, watch, and respond.
- Binge watchers of TV, Netflix, YouTube, or the many other sources of escapism.
Yet, Christmas need not be negative. This year’s holidays allow us to accomplish things we haven’t in prior years. By the way, many of the greatest songs of the Christmas season were written during World War II. Read the history behind, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
Although we may not have normal family gatherings we can do the little things that were once quite popular.
Things we can do this Holiday
Here are some suggestions for things to do during the socially distanced holidays. Feel free to add to the list in the comment section.
- Take time to call friends and family, even some you have not seen in years. Connect, telling them why they are special to you. Uncles, aunts and cousins you have not spoken to or seen in ages would love to hear your voice.
- Make Christmas or New Year cards or gifts. If you take time to hand make your own cards or gifts, not only will you be showing someone you really care, but it will keep your mind occupied. An occupied mind is a happier mind.
- Have a small Zoom meeting with your family during Christmas time. Zoom allows interaction among several people. Best get busy now if you are going to get this set up.
- Have an old-fashioned Christmas. Technology dominates our lives. In 2020 this is even more the norm. Shut the phone off, place the computers and tablets away, and sit with your family. Does anyone still know how to “string popcorn” to make a garland for the tree? Your grandkids will love it.
Before a family dinner, Connie Bernard has a basket in which she collects the cell phone of each family member. Instead of Sudoku or Chess with Friends, or new “cat videos” tell stories. Remember the good times.
- Enjoy your dinne Sit down and slow down. The football game, Christmas movie or new game for Nintendo can wait a while. Enjoy what you are eating. Even if it is not as good as when Aunt May brought her cake or Granny made the dressing. Remember that many are not so blessed.
- On Christmas day celebrate the beginning of the incarnation of the Father. The “Everlasting Father” chose to take all the attributes resident in God and mysteriously and miraculously also be man. The outcome: Christ, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
- Pray with your friends, pray with your family, pray for your dinner, pray for those less fortunate and the many people who have lost loves ones in 2020.
- If you are completely alone this Christmas, consider volunteering for a local church, or a homeless shelter serving food. Keep in mind the importance of social distancing. Such volunteer work is rewarding and will bring joy to you and others.
Overall, do not let our pandemic destroy the significance of Christmas. Remember that in every situation, Jesus is Emmanuel - God is with us. This is a unique time but not the first time such things have happened. Take advantage of the quiet time. Connect with yourself, your friends, family, and God on a truly deeper and emotional level.
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