We’ve Made It This Far. And That is a Christmas Miracle


We’ve Made It This Far. And That is a Christmas Miracle

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

The coronavirus pandemic has ensured that there are fundamental changes to the way we live and laugh. Work from home is the new norm, schooling is conducted over Zoom calls, food is ordered online instead and even festive celebrations have taken a twist in the year of the pandemic. Discovery of a new Covid-19 strain and rising cases in many parts of the world threaten to dampen what American singer Andy Williams calls “the most wonderful time of the year” aka Christmas.

How different will Christmas be during the pandemic?

For one, many are mourning the loss of loved ones. There are others who are coming to terms with job losses and staring at an uncertain future. Caution has been due this year. Concerns are aplenty – not only economic but also related to health and safety. Often seen as the time of the year where people head out to shopping malls, restaurants and clubs, the social distancing protocols and night curfews hint towards a more muted Christmas. But one can rarely take away the festive spirit from India.

Churches and chapels in Goa are geared up for midnight masses. It will be the first Christmas in centuries where people would be socially distanced, wearing masks and sanitising their hands frequently. While the dances post mass have been cancelled, the decorative cribs, along with the spirit of the people, will be splendid as ever. But it is not merely India that is catching up to this new reality.

As Outlook reports, in Peru, you can’t drive your car on Christmas. In Lebanon, you can go to a nightclub, but you can’t dance. In South Africa, roadblocks instead of beach parties will mark this year’s festive season. How many people can you share a Christmas meal with? France recommends six, in Chile it’s fifteen and Brazil has specified no such limit. To put it mildly, it is an unusual Christmas, and even Santa Claus has had to adapt.

Letters written by children to Santa Claus in the U.S have been quite revealing. Some have asked Santa to make “coronavirus go away,” while others have requested for masks. “Dear Santa,” Jonah wrote. “I don’t want anything for Christmas, but I would like to ask you if you can do me a favour: Can you please find a cure for Covid-19 and give it to us to save the world. Thank you.” Same, Jonah!

However, while Covid-19 can try to play spoilsport, it cannot tame the longing for some cheer. If Instagram feeds and Zoom calls are anything to go by, Christmas decorations at home have been wholesome as ever, schools have conducted virtual parties with teachers playing Santa from home, and homemade treats are ready for the big day. “We have decorated our house and have been baking cakes, but above all, we are praying to the Lord to help the lost and oppressed, give hope to the hopeless, and love to those who need it, which I believe, is the true meaning of Christmas,” said 24-year-old Grichi Boro from Assam to The Indian Express.

In a turbulent 2020, the Christmas miracle is that we have made it this far, and that the vaccine rollout is all set to turn the tide in our favour. And for that, we must be thankful and merry.