This is one Christmas without the usual movements in Italy
It’s Christmas! In spite of the times the streets are lined with glittering lights, the malls are wearing decorative looks and lots of gifts are on display in stores for picks. Messages are pouring in from far and near, heralding the season and preparations are underway to make the day as memorable and exciting as it can be.
This is an unprecedented year and a unique Christmas.  I have celebrated many of this Season and I am grateful for that, however this one is remarkable. I went out to do a bit of shopping for my family and I could feel the difference of this Christmas. I also took a drive round town in the evening; the central church was decorated with a shower of Christmas lights, and few houses were adorned with decorations, it was beautiful to behold the town wear the annual look but the usual excitement in the people is missing this year.

 The pandemic came upon us unawares and we have learnt a lot, seen a lot and heard a lot. Most people I spoke with said, “I’ve never seen anything like this.” Yes, this generation has not seen anything like this, but we have learnt to appreciate and value what matters most and hold unto God, who never fails. 

This Christmas may not be like the others we’ve celebrated but we are alive to celebrate and that is a cause to rejoice. “Even though the fig tree have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

We have been locked down many times during the year, many caught the virus and were sick unto death, and others lost their jobs, homes and means of livelihood. Some lost their lives and a lot their loved ones during this year and they can’t but remember they were here the last time to celebrate with them. We have experienced in one way or another the pain, the loss, the tears, the fears, the frustrations, the anger, the memories… In the midst of all these, Jesus came to give us joy. His birth was announced with, “Glory to God in the highest, Peace be on the earth, Goodwill to all men.” This message is more relevant at this time than any other. We need joy to be able to navigate our daily lives not just at Christmas but every time, we pray for the peace of God over our land and let us share the goodwill to all we meet and celebrate the Lord.

Christmas for me has always been simple; share love with those around me, sing melodious Christmas tunes with my family and attend my church’s “Dinner on The Marble” annual event, which could not hold for the first time in decades this year because of the pandemic. It’s also a time I give simple gifts or extend a hand to someone in need, cook easy to make delicious dishes and just revel in the day by thanking God and relaxing with my family. Our family tradition is to spend the day with someone who is alone and share together. However, we can’t do that this year as there are no movements during this Yuletide. As we celebrate this year, let us remember that we are some of the privileged ones to witness Christmas 2020 and we should be thankful and joyful. The essence of the season is love. The reason for the season is Jesus. Let us share both to everyone far and near. 

Here’s wishing you Buon Natale!
Live life to the fullest!