I grew up in a big family in a small farming town in the Philippines. Life was simple then. People worked hard to put food on the table and send their kids to school. Christmas was always special. It was one of the very few celebration holidays we had. It was a time for extended family gatherings, feasts, and gift giving. It was a time for forgiveness, reaching out to people, and kindness all around.
Here in America, where I have spent Christmases for the past 35 years, the celebration has been a bit different. Being way from my big family, Christmas is now a small gathering with my immediate family and friends. Decorations are brighter and there definitely are a lot more of them. Food, drinks, and gifts are plentiful. Yet, with me, there's always a hint of hollowness, a feeling of homesickness.
Many families are going to feel this way in 2020. With the pandemic, many are isolated or away from their loved ones. There will not be as many big gatherings this year, at least not in America. We need to beat this virus so that we can spare more lives. Here in northern Virginia, where we have been living for a couple of years now, I saw homes were decorated earlier than usual this year. The streets seem brighter with lights and festive decors. People are doing what I did, celebrating away from my big family. They are carrying on, making the best of the situation. Bringing cheers to others. Helping heal the world!
The cure is near. We will get back to semi-normal soon. But for now, everyone, Have a Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Prosperous 2021!
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