The holidays are a time of transition, as families gather to celebrate and appreciate each other and the changes that have taken place in the past year.
This year, the transitions are especially significant.
It's not likely you can find anyone who hasn't had a major change in their life during the past year. Routines were upended, jobs were shifted – or, unfortunately for many, lost – schooling altered, and for far too many there was the pain of illness and untimely loss. Many have referred to 2020 as “annus horribilis” – horrible year in Latin. Finding someone to disagree with that would be difficult, if not impossible.
But as the optimistic philosopher says, when one door closes, another opens. As we close the door on 2020, we need to look for an open door that leads to better things in 2021.
Predictions can be problematic, but it's quite likely that the new vaccines will help quell the pandemic that is responsible for much of the turmoil of the past year. Will there be a transition back to “normal” life? Probably not as we knew it, but it will, we hope, be a step toward that.
We can also look forward to transitioning away from the disruption, chaos and divisiveness that has reigned in Washington, D.C. toward a more inclusive, transparent and reason-based method of governing. Closer to home, we hope there will be a transition toward more in-person learning in local schools and, perhaps, the return, eventually, of community gatherings and events. It would be nice to transition away from sitting at home in front of the TV to sitting with a crowd in a movie theater.
As we gather in a safe manner this week, consider that most important of transitions: the change from the inward perspective forced on us by the pandemic to the expansive, outward expression of gratitude and joy that the holiday season sparks. We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday. Better times are just through that door.