The days seemed 47 hours long. The only conversation I had with anyone other than my husband or 2 year old was on the phone. And we were all running out of things to say.
As the months passed and family reunions for Easter, birthdays, and summer vacation were all canceled, I clung to the hope of getting back to “normal” by December.
For those of us who were able to reunite with loved ones last Christmas – although it wasn’t everyone we wanted to be with, and it required multiple trips to the local pharmacy for COVID-19 testing and self-imposed quarantine – just being together was worth celebrating.
It wasn’t hard to remember the âreason for the seasonâ after a long year of fear, uncertainty and far too many lives lost.
This year, it seems, the effects of the lingering pandemic will impact another Christmas. This time we may care less about going to Grandma’s house, than whether there will be a gift for or from Grandma under the tree.
You’ve probably heard of the global shipping crisis that is currently causing panic among Christmas shoppers hoping to have everything on their lists in time for the big morning. The media are encouraging people to shop early, as delays can hamper arrival dates for some of the year’s hottest items.
This seemingly significant inconvenience is just another example of how our lives have been turned upside down by this pandemic. But I would say it also presents an opportunity for self-reflection and growth ahead of what can be one of the busiest times of the year.
When I think back to what the past year has been like for so many faced with missing loved ones on Christmas morning, these reminders to shop early are a sad reminder of how quickly we can be. culturally shaken to worry about the commercialism of Christmas. .
What, if anything, have we learned from the last nearly two years of the pandemic?
Messages about the “real meaning of Christmas” usually abound this time of year and sometimes make their way through the hustle and bustle of checking out the items on those gift lists.
You don’t need a talk from me on what we’re really supposed to be celebrating on December 25th, but maybe this global shipping crisis will force many of us to face our own struggles to keep the birth of Christ at the center of the celebration.
Rather than rushing to shop early and often, clicking online, or rushing to the mall even earlier this year, maybe we can use that as a forced opportunity to accept less. Can we care more about who is gathered around the Christmas tree than what is below?
In a recent conversation with a coworker, it reminded me of what I described at the start of this article and how truly lonely and scary spring and early summer 2020 was. We were alone in an office space that comfortably accommodated over 300 peopleâ¦ the new standard.
But even as we shared our experiences from those first few weeks of the pandemic, surrounded by dozens of empty chairs and blank computer screens, I realized how long I had blocked out of my memory. And how easy it was to forget how thankful I should be for being able to hug a loved one outside of my house.
For me, those carefree hugs and shared meals will be the greatest joys of Christmas this year.
Jones is a Maryland-based freelance writer.