That was a unique Christmas. The funfair that always accompanies the day was gone. Families were hurdled in grief after the coronavirus snatched away a loved one or put them in the hospital ward.
This has always been the day. Even for the less fortunate, it came with goodies — with the rare assurance of eating meat. If you grew up in a less fortunate family, like I did, then you know that meat is a preserve for visitors — and occasions.
The vigil that faithful hold in churches on Christmas eve was missing, what with the intimidating police presence with officers brandishing guns, clubs and teargas canisters. Church doors, which had remained open over many years, were put under lock and key on the key day in the Christian calendar.
In clubs, the revellers danced with one eye on the clock, the beer bottles drained in haste. And as dusk approached, innocent people sprinted away at the mere sight of a police officer or van.
Before Covid-19, social distancing was frowned upon, handwashing voluntary, sanitiser largely unheard of and face masks were drama costumes. Curfew was a history class word. Drunks trudged home in the dead of the night, singing praises to their real or imagined herds.
But now, the world is running in reverse. A septuagenarian chokes in a mask while youth go without one; a family would rather sleep hungry to buy sanitiser; and youths are in charge of churches, the elderly having been ‘placed under receivership’.
A family that cuddles on the sitting room sofa has to keep distance in public places. A gate man with questionable schooling takes the temperature of a medical doctor!
What an interesting time to be alive!
As we nurse the wounds of 2020, let’s pray that 2021 will treat us kindly. That it will look at our faces and sympathise with our long trek to safety and wipe away our tears of despondency.
Have a blessed New Year.