It may appear to many – without any desire to trivialize the current pandemic or its cost in human life – that this is another year in which the Grinch has triumphed over Christmas.
This time last year we were anticipating that the long-awaited vaccine rollout would mean a return to life as usual by Christmas 2021. We know what happened to that.
After waves of premature optimism, the momentum of B.C.’s four-step ‘return’ plan has been stalled by a series of COVID variants, of which Omicron appears to be the most vaccine-resistant and most highly communicable – with a rise of infections galloping around the globe.
Most of us – after taking the vaccines, masking, distancing, proof of vaccination credentials and all the other protocols in stride – are wearying of anti-COVID measures. With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, we have only new admonitions to limit in-home socializing and table-to-table interactions in restaurants.
But somehow, the simple, symbolic gestures of trimming a tree and stringing lights – whether at our homes or at larger scale events like the White Rock Bright Walk, Surrey’s Lumagica and Langley’s Glow – have acquired added meaning in such a context.
If last Christmas showed us anything, it was that being with family, whether in person or virtually, was more important than all the usual trappings. And the point of Dr. Seuss’ classic tale, after all, is that, minus the materialism and excess associated with the holidays, Christmas still exists.
The Whos – with nothing else to do – were still able to gather (outdoors, no less) to raise their voices in a Christmas carol. The spirit of Christmas could not be stopped, by any person or any thing.
Christmas 2021 – with an abundance of hopeful, almost defiant light – signals through the darkness that what we desire most for Christmas is still the greatest present imaginable: peace on Earth and goodwill to all.