This year will be a unique Christmas and New Years for those of us following Alberta’s new COVID restrictions, and it could be a great Christmas.
We won’t have to do any special cleaning nor re-shuffle the house to accommodate a myriad of guests. I, for one, put up my biggest and favourite Christmas tree which dominates the living room, making it impossible to host any normal Christmas entourage.
Our annual get-together when 40 to 60 relatives descend to feast on lutefisk and lefse will go ‘zoom’ this year.
I sometimes wonder if for in-laws and younger generations this seems like a thankful reprieve from the annual ritual of enduring the smells and visuals of white, wiggly lutefisk swimming in butter—perhaps wondering silently, ‘who in their right mind would eat this stuff’!
Yes, we come together because we want to catch up with our families sharing successes and commiserating over hardships from the year just ended.
We want to see our grandchildren and great nieces and nephews as they grow and mature in their march towards adulthood.
It could even be the last time we see a grandparent or a great aunt or uncle or even a younger cousin. We want to reconnect with friends and those from afar.
Christmas for most is extremely important and special.
However, COVID-19 has forced us this ‘one’ year, to not only consider our family and friend’s needs and wants, but to consider the stranger as well.
In the Bible, the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) tells of a Jew robbed and beaten and in need of help. He is aided not by one of his own but a member of a foreign and hostile tribe, a Samaritan.
Jesus told this parable when teaching a critical Bible passage, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’, the second greatest commandment after ‘to love God with heart, soul and mind’.
The ‘neighbour’ in the Bible isn’t our favourite people or those we most identify with, the neighbour in this parable was the stranger, the unknown or even an enemy.
Christmas is the time for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. As such, it seems a most appropriate time to regard Christ’s stranger over our own wants and wishes in 2020. Keeping Christmas to only those who live in our household is what governments have asked us to do so that others (strangers) may live.
I most likely will spend Christmas alone, as I did for Thanksgiving, but I do this with a grateful heart ever reminding myself of the Samaritan woman and Jesus’ two greatest commandments.
Merry Christmas to all . . . and remember, it’s just one year.