Friday, December 8
The Christmas we want…

“All hell dun broke loose,” begins an email from a friend tonight, December 23.

Her whole family was gathering from various western US cities to share five days in Palm Springs and then spend Christmas through New Year’s Day in Seattle.  

But her son came down with Covid-19 on Monday.  After becoming sick but testing negative, he tested positive today.  That means he will be spending Christmas isolated in Palm Springs while the others fly back to Seattle.

Meanwhile, her granddaughter’s partner became sick with a high fever.  He tested negative too but will get a second test tomorrow.  That means her granddaughter is exposed and has to isolate from everyone in the family or at least wear a mask. 

My friend’s other granddaughter flew to Seattle from Hawaii to spend Christmas with the family.  Her mother will fly home to Seattle from Palm Springs as scheduled, but her father will stay there until he feels well enough to fly home.

Meanwhile, that granddaughter heard from her roommates at the University of Hawaii that two of them have tested positive.  That means she needs to quarantine from her mother.  

This Omicron variant is spreading like wildfire, everywhere from New York to Hawaii.

How do you do togetherness at Christmas when 2-3 family members are sick and several of the others are on quarantine?

How do you have Christmas dinner together?  And open presents?  Dare we go out to church in person on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

We too have had a crazy week here in Santa Monica with two family members arriving from New York City and bringing the Omicron variant with them.  They’re in a hotel but one of the two (my niece) tested positive on Wednesday.  She was sharing a bed with her mother, so they both have it, no doubt.  So far neither is very sick, but others may get Covid from them and become sicker.

Meanwhile, my daughter who lives 15 minutes away will probably not come here for Christmas because she spent 5-6 hours on Sunday with friends who got sick on Tuesday.  See my blog post on this Wednesday night, Dec. 22.  

This Omicron variant just sneaked up on all of us.  We did not take it seriously and cancel our travel plans.  

I refused to go to dinner last night with my ex-sister-in-law but did spend 2 hours with her and my niece today in their hotel lobby; I stayed masked except for eating a breakfast sandwich from Starbucks and drinking a peppermint mocha.  Six feet distanced.  Was that too close for this new variant?  Will I get Covid again?

It’s all about travel.  If we stayed home, this virus wouldn’t spread like a wind-driven fire.  We got too confident that the epidemic was waning.  Instead of shutting down like a year ago, some of us made plans to travel, to visit family, to go out to restaurants and shows.

We must do all we can to keep this virus from spreading, to keep ourselves out of the hospital, and to keep others from being exposed.  Otherwise, we become incubators that help it to mutate further and evade our drugs.   

Taking vaccines and wearing masks are acts of kindness to those who are fragile (have auto-immune illness, are taking immuno suppressants, or are cancer survivors, etc.).  

Doing all we can do is a simple courtesy to the doctors, nurses, and aides who are caring for those who are sick and dying.

For many of us, this Christmas will be Silent night, Covid night….

But still, God comes to us in human form to cheer and redeem us.  

Without all the busyness and distractions of merriment, maybe we will have time to reflect on our place in the Cosmos, to feel the presence of a God who wants to connect with us.

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