by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
Christmas is just around the corner. Just as the song says, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Families and friends gather, give gifts to each other, sing carols together and just enjoy the festivities of the holiday. But with the pandemic still ravaging many people’s lives, will Christmas this year be merry and bright?
The pandemic has caused lockdowns, extreme measures of social distancing and physical isolation. With Christmas being a holiday enjoyed by being together, this worldwide crisis will surely dampen the joy that this season brings.
It’s the second pandemic Christmas and this contagion still has no end in sight. Many countries in Europe are experiencing their nth wave of cases, reaching up to tens of thousands of cases per day. Their health care systems are at a breaking point.
Even here in South Korea, where more than 70% are already vaccinated and things seemed to be getting better, the number of Covid-patients is again on the rise.
There are days we can see the light at the end of the tunnel but then reports of virus mutations, waves of cases, tightened government restrictions bombard us yet again.
The light diminishes and the tunnel gets longer and longer. It’s heartbreaking and rather discouraging to be in a seemingly never-ending cycle of winning and losing against the virus.
Are we to hope only to have our hope deferred over and over?
My family and I are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas this year. Though we tried to enjoy our celebration last year, the first year of the pandemic, the holiday wasn’t as fun as the usual Christmases we had because we didn’t get to enjoy it with the people we love.
We are hopeful that this year will be different, but it seems like it will only be the four of us again. With the number of cases still rising by the day and travel still difficult, we’ll just have to make do with what we have and choose to embrace the season despite the challenging times.
The other night, my 6-year-old daughter Callie told me that she doesn’t feel like Christmas is coming soon because there are not enough lights, no big Christmas tree, and no parties here and there.
She doesn’t feel the joy of Christmas. I was stunned that it came from such a young girl.
I was reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. With all my heart, I told her, “Christmas is not about the lights, gifts and parties. It’s about the baby Jesus Christ who had come so we can have life and hope.”
I prayed that her young mind would comprehend.
You see, Christmas is not about parties, it’s about a Person.
It’s not about material gifts, it’s about the gift of life. It’s not about food and fun, though they are all good, it’s about the Father’s love expressed through His Son, the Christ.
The pandemic caused our eyes to see only the darkness in this world, and our souls have been crushed by hopelessness. And just as I’ve asked a while back, are we to hope only to have our hope deferred over and over? Yes, we can hope against hope.
Christmas is a season of hope. It’s not just a season of hope, it is a story about hope.
A little boy was born to save the world and bring light into the darkness. And the hope that He offers never fails. The light that He brings never diminishes. The joy that He gives goes beyond our circumstances.
The pandemic is one of the most difficult and darkest stages our world has ever faced but we must remember that is in the darkest moment that light shines the brightest.
We may not have the glorious parties and celebrations this year but the joy that this season brings can never be taken away by the virus, it will always be in our hearts.
It will definitely still be the most wonderful time of the year!
by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan