Good News!

Darkness has clouded our horizon for much of 2020. I recall, as if it were yesterday, our church board meeting in the beginning of this year and voting to close our church to public meetings…perhaps until Easter. We had a May holiday planned to visit Maine…that in late February I thought we might be able to attend… We changed our Maine plans to September…and I felt fairly confident that it would be safe to fly to our favorite State by then! It has taken me sometime to realize, and for me to absorb the realization that we have never been in a situation like we are in…before 2020. I heard from friends and family that we had very little Covid-19 in our rural areas of Southern Illinois. It was a popular question for virus deniers to inquire, ‘Do you know anyone that has Covid-19?’ This was early on…things have changed! But, now the first vaccines are being given in the United States and the beginning of the end of our terrible scourge is here!

I keep a close eye on the United Kingdom. We have spent sometime there in the past few years. London has been moved to their Tier 3, which is the strictest of their lockdown policies surrounding the pandemic. The UK was the first to approve the Pfizer vaccine and they are currently inoculating their aged residents and frontline hospital workers. There is now a clear light at the end of our coronavirus tunnel!

Christmas time is bringing a wonderful gift to the human family! It is said that the Christmas Star is visible for the first time in 100’s of years. I have been humbled and amazed and silent in the face of an unprecedented outpouring of love and support as we humans reach out to help our brothers and sisters! The health care worker and frontline essential workers in our country are inspirational!

Time is most valuable! Over the past 10 years of retirement I have looked back, often, at what has been a wonderful life and yet with road bumps and challenges all along the path. The gift of life and its manifold blessings is something that has dawned on me as each year quickly passes by. When I was young I worried on a regular basis that I must seek available promotions and work diligently in my endeavor to ensure that I would keep my career going… with Southern Illinois University@ Carbondale. Having lived in mean and rough circumstances it was of paramount importance to guarantee that MJ and Aaron and Jonathon…did not have to experience some of the challenges that I had seen… A friend told me…late in my career…that she had discovered my secret for success…and that was that I utilized being underestimated to my advantage. She ‘hit the nail on the head’ as I often likened myself to the television detective, Columbo, who wore the rumpled raincoat and appeared to be somewhat bumbling and perhaps cluless and a bit of a rambling speaker…until he revealed, at the end of each weeks hour long broadcast, his solving of the case!

Remarkable challenges have faced us during 2020! Our scientist and epidemiologist and Dr. Anthony Fauci were not wrong regarding the virus…their herculean dedication has proven to save many lives! We have survived thus far and we will continue to meet the challenges of the coronavirus until it is no longer a threat!

Christmas is a specific season on our calendar. Advent is specified on our church calendar. We bring the fir and pine trees into our homes and decorate them with brightly colored ornaments. Brilliantly wrapped gifts are the order of the festive season…and children’s eyes are all aglow with the wonder and delight of expectations regarding what good thing is going to come next… The Christmas Tree and the wonderful gifts and the good will and love…are all simply physical manifestations of the hope that lives in our hearts! Let this Christmas joy keep us safe throughout 2021 and reveal to us the limited time that we all have on this earth…and the good that we can do for our fellow human beings…

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