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Despite struggles, let’s keep the faith

Despite the positive spin that usually dominates the weeks from just before Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, each year there nevertheless is much suffering in this country and around the world.

That almost can be dubbed a fact of life.

Unfortunately, this year, the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted — and continues to inflict — a scope of suffering and death unimaginable to many people nine, six or even three months ago.

Still, Christmas Eve — today — is, in the minds of most people, supposed to be different from the terrible circumstances within which many people here and beyond are living on this day before what is supposed to be the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth on earth.

For many individuals and families, Christmas Eve almost is as important as Christmas Day, because of family get-togethers and other traditions. However, Christmas Eve 2020 is going to be a day much different than any past Christmas Eve that most people might be able to recall.

The cause of that difference will not only be the health crisis, but also the general foul mood of the country — the division, hatred, distrust and lack of civility that even a holiday of the magnitude of Christmas won’t be able to resolve permanently — even temporarily.

On this day and going forward, however, the attitude ought to be to try to plant a seed for a better nation and world. Even a small seed will be better than none at all.

For many children, the anticipation that usually is a hallmark of this day is likely to have a different feeling because of what is swirling around them. Witnessing the agitation, sadness, troubling concerns, general fear and other negative emotions of their parents might forever stain some of their appreciation and excitement regarding the holidays.

There are adults today who can point to some holiday-time incident or series of incidents that were destined to soil their feelings about the holidays for the rest of their lives.

Consider the children whose holidays each year were — or are — ruined by parents’, relatives’ or others’ excessive alcoholic beverage consumption or drug use while purportedly celebrating.

Then there is COVID-19, which has claimed more than 300,000 lives in this country and sickened millions of others here and around the world. On this day before Christmas, many families will be tortured by the loss or losses they have endured at the hands of the coronavirus and the knowledge that those who succumbed to the illness never again will be in their midst to brighten their holidays.

Indeed, there will be many COVID-related deaths today and tomorrow.

Despite the real meaning of Christmas then — Christ’s birth — anger and frustration will be a very present entity of today and tomorrow, along with many tears.

Still, try to make the best of an overarching bad situation. Pray for eventual healing within your family, if that is what is necessary. Ponder how you might help others and your community when the pandemic is no more.

Though it is not yet Christmas, this is also a day when the Christmas spirit and remembrance of the religious meaning of the holiday should be alive.

There is much not to be joyous about on this Christmas Eve, but try not to let that consume you.

The headline over the Mirror’s Dec. 24, 2019, editorial is relevant today:

“Open your life, home to goodness.”

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