A few days before Christmas, we set up our tree, complete with ornaments and star, and decorated our house as we have done in the past. With the characteristic smells of Christmas season food, the festival was definitely in the air, but it was different.
But, this Christmas was unlike any I remember in my life of 19 years.
Leading up to Christmas, there used to be days of partying, which continued until the new year. Church gatherings, group carol singing, guests in and out of our home – they were taken for granted. None of this happened this year.
Instead of being in church where we usually spend Christmas eve, bringing in the holiday with midnight mass and receiving the blessed sacrament, we sat in front of our television at home and attended virtual mass. Our celebration was small, tight knit and family oriented.
It was completely, yet pleasantly different, and we are all grateful for the blessings we have received in the midst of the turmoil in the world.
In our neighbourhood in Mumbai, things seem to be getting better after the COVID-19 disruption. The local businesses are trying to recover, and this Christmas, the shops have been decked up in an attempt to lure people out, to buy and to celebrate. If not for the memory of the last few months, we could have forgotten that the situation isn’t “normal” yet.
It seems that people around the city have been looking for every chance to brighten up their lives. Many who don’t traditionally celebrate Christmas, have trees at home. And there are many new home businesses that are offering delightful goodies for Christmas and the new year.
As we ring in the new year, let us continue to take care to wear our masks, adhere to social distancing norms, and wash our hands to keep the virus at bay.