This year we’ve all been doing things differently. First there was lockdown Easter, then lockdown Summer, then lockdown Bonfire Night and lockdown Remembrance Day. All of these occasions where we gather with family and friends or we travel to see different places and people have been very different this year.
For those of us who are lucky enough to have networks of friends and family, we have got a taste of the isolation and loneliness felt by those who aren’t. As unpleasant as this has been, I hope that we can learn from this and be more empathetic and show more compassion for those who are marginalised in our local community.
Of all the lockdown events, perhaps the most significant is coming up later this month; Christmas. For many people, this is the time of the year where they see family and old friends, celebrating and catching up on the year just gone. We don’t know yet how “normal” this Christmas will be, but it seems very likely that there will still be some restrictions over Christmas and New Year.
With a very different kind of Christmas on its way, I think the importance of community will be highlighted once again – as it has been throughout the pandemic. I’ve written here before about how the crisis has shown how much we all rely on each other, and some of the fantastic things that volunteer and community groups have done through this period. I don’t think Christmas will be any different – I am confident that a very difficult festive period will be made more bearable by our communities coming together for each other.
“Coming together” will be more or less difficult depending on what restrictions we’re under but I have a lot of faith in the creativity and ingenuity of those in the community who are dedicate to helping each other. I’d encourage you all to think of how we can work together as a community to bring festive cheer even in the most difficult of circumstances.
So it’s likely to be a strange one, but let me finish by wishing you all the very best for the season – Merry Christmas!