A Covid Christmas

Well, this has been a year we’ll never forget. Future generations will look at 2020 and shake their heads disbelievingly – was it really possible that a flu-like virus originating in a market in China caused the entire World and every person living upon it, from Easter Island to the Faroe Islands to Tory Island, to have their lives changed totally and almost instantaneously? In a World that had the Internet, nano-technology, genome sequencing and quantum computing (as announced by a Chinese company this week), how was it that our existence was so fragile?

I remember watching the fall of Lehman Brothers on 15 September 2008, followed 2 months later by the collapse of Ireland’s entire economy. There we were, following more than a decade of Celtic Tiger success, our lives turned upside down. It made me realise at the time that regardless of how well things ever appear on the surface, life is delicate.

A lot of our Christmas traditions won’t be happening this year. Meeting the same friends on Christmas Eve for the annual carol service followed by drinks for an hour before we all go our separate ways. My family coming down to our house on the days around New Year. My brother and his family flying home from England. All across the country people will have similar experiences. But even with this, I sense that this Christmas is a turning point. I sense that, like me, people see this Christmas as a time to focus on what is good, and to choose to hope for better times ahead.

That is why I am determined to make the most of this Christmas. Perhaps as the children have got older and life has got busier, I’ve taken Christmas for granted over the past few years. Not this year. This year is about re-connecting with all the things that made Christmas special in the past. My youngest son came with me to pick our tree last week. We played Christmas music in the car on the way to choose it, singing along together to Wham’s Last Christmas; we put up the decorations carefully, eating mince pies as we did so; we sat down to watch a Christmas film on TV; and I’ve put a lot more consideration into my Christmas card messages this year. This year it’s not going to be about doing Christmas things because we always do them, but because they allow us to reflect on what is good in our lives and savour time with each other as a family.

I heard the original version of the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas recently. It was sung by Judy Garland in the 1944 film Meet Me In St Louis and originally featured lyrics a bit different from the ones we know today. The words may not be exactly as people know them from the Michael Bublé and Frank Sinatra version, but I think Judy’s version could have been written especially for this Christmas.

As we close off 2020, and hopefully move into a brighter 2021, let me offer these words as my Christmas wish to you.

Someday soon we all will be together

If the fates allow

Until then we’ll have to muddle through somehow

So have yourself a Merry Little Christmas now

Join us strengthening our leadership muscles on an online LIFT leadership session this holiday season. As we spend more time with loved ones it is a great time to increase our positive attitude, resilience and empathy. These 45 minute sessions are open to everyone in Ireland.

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