So many of the songs we hear for Christmas were written for Christmases like this one.
“Someday soon we all will be together, if the fates allow. Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow”
with every Christmas card I write…”
These songs, and others like them, come from times of war and tribulation. They suggest separation and an element of melancholia and sadness as well as a hope for some better times ahead.
It’s going to be that kind of Christmas this year, isn’t it?
terrible in so many ways but it’s still a central tool in my life. One reason
for this is that it shows me the implications of things. It shows me what the rather
amorphous twists and turns of the news means to real-live people out there in
evening, London and other places got an un-signaled Tier 4 lockdown imposed on
it. I’m not in London, I’m not even in England but that news made me nod sadly
and say to myself, “that’s a tough one.” Then Twitter started to show me just
how tough it will be on people and I understood better.
the nice lady who had just done her huge shop for the family who were coming to
stay for the allowed few days. Sitting in a house full of food and drink and
bright lights. Nobody coming.
gentleman who was packed up and ready to be brought to his daughter’s house for
Christmas Day, his first family contact in so many months. Nobody coming for
son, first time away, who couldn’t come home before this, ready to roll homeward for his
already-warmed electric blanket and a little well-deserved pampering. Not
happening. Stay put. Muddle through somehow.
Ireland, as I type, we will still be allowed meet in limited ways. But it is
tenuous, tenuous. The numbers are on that climb that they do. They will not level
off by themselves. Every little joy we allow ourselves seems to make the
My own little
family unit, the four of us, won’t see anybody else this Christmas. Our extended families must
use the slender opportunity to see sons and daughter and mothers and fathers, rather
than the aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews that we constitute.
Still we are
lucky. Lucky and we know it. The four of us are here now, in our home, and
here we will stay, together for the Christmas season. For us, it won’t be massively
different from other years although the three or four key family and friend interactions
we always traditionally have will be sorely missed.
A few more
days of work and I’ll be finished until the New Year. The way the dates fall
this year means there’s a few extras days over the weekend so it will be the 4th
before I trundle back. This time of year is my annual holiday, I rarely take another.
So, I look forward to it and treasure it.
I thank the
fates that they have allowed the four of us to be together for this Pandemic
But my heart
goes out, it flies over fields and rivers, over mountains and seas, to those of
you who must miss out on the things you need this year. It is tough on the
remote factual level, but it is even tougher, down on the single human-being
level, where Granny and Mother and Son and Daughter and Dad and Grandad cannot
meet just this once and greet each other face to face, as in golden days of yore.
thing is easy for me to say, from where I sit, and I apologise if I sound trite
I think it almost
behooves us to have ourselves a merry little Christmas this year, no matter how
hard that may be to do. The kindest thing we could do for the people we cannot
see, the people who will worry and fret over us, is to show them that we are
okay. We may not be together, but we can smile a little and shelter a little and
interact in every way we can. The greatest gift I could get would be to know
that my friends and family are muddling through somehow and that someday soon
we all will be together once again. It’s not a gift easily given because there’ll
be sadness and loneliness and a fervent wish that things could be different. And, of course, we can't all do this. Some people's Christmases are just too hard.
But, if at all possible, for that moment at least, let your hearts be light, if only for those who will worry about you and miss you. Let’s raise a glass to those we cannot be with us and those dear ones who are no longer with us and those brave ones who are going through even greater trials than us this Christmas. Let’s remember them well.
And perhaps next
year, as the old song says, all our troubles will be miles away.
Christmas, wherever you find yourself.