I found it very poignant to hear my son’s class singing ‘Silent Night’ the other day. If this had been a normal year, everyone would have crowded into our local church and listened to the children sing it in person, and it would have been a lovely moment to sit and reflect on the meaning of Christmas. But this is Christmas 2020, so I watched a recording of them on my laptop screen, singing it a couple of weeks ago in their class ‘bubble’. And my reflection was different too.
It would be customary to wish everyone peace and joy at Christmas, but there have been too many silent nights in 2020. Too much isolation, too much bereavement, too much distance from those we love. In amongst the job losses, the struggling businesses, the closed schools and the full hospitals, the hardest thing for most of us to bear has been needing to keep away from our loved ones. This has taken a huge toll on every single one of us and – for most of us – it will not be alleviated this Christmas.
So my wish for you all is to have a safe Christmas. Stay in, don’t mix with others, avoid travelling. We are blessed with technology that will enable us to see and hear our loved ones, even if we can’t be in their presence.
In keeping with the message of Christmas, there is hope in the darkness. The vaccine is starting to be rolled out across the country and in the constituency, and – if all goes well – we should be able to return to some semblance of a normal life later next year. If we can all be patient, and live within the restrictions for a little while longer, we can look forward to a summer filled with hugs, handshakes, house parties and to see each other’s smiles again.
If the best I can offer is to wish you a safe and hopeful Christmas, then my hope is for all of us to have a joyful and active 2021.
This will be the last newsletter until January 5th, as I am closing my office over
Christmas and New Year to allow my staff to take a well-deserved break.