OK, admittedly the title of this blog entry sounds glum, but this Christmas and New Year’s season has definitely been a bit more sombre than any other we have previously experienced. Due to lockdown rules, households weren’t allowed to mingle which meant much quieter celebrations than usually. And then there is the sad moment when the UK did finally leave the European Union fully because too many people believed the misleading and potentially dangerous promises of regaining control and sovereignty and reviving the lost glory.
We look back on a year with many sad, worrying and frustrating moments. We look back at Covid-19 which has so far killed more than 1.8 million people and we think of the many families and friends who are mourning a loved one. We too know people who have died and we mourn for them.
We remember the people who are still facing long-term health issues several months after they had Covid-19. We also know people who are struggling with such health issues and we hope for improved health and strength for them.
We think of all the people who have lost their jobs or who deal with mental health issues, loneliness or abusive situations at home. We, too, know people who are facing these challenges and we want to assure you of our love and support.
We have seen the desperation of parents who risked their and their children’s lives on a journey by boat or foot because the dangers of their home countries are too great to bear. The “lucky ones” might now find themselves stranded on the streets or in insufficiently equiped refugee camps, the bodies of others who have drowned in the sea or have died crossing a desert have never been found. We, too, know people who had to flee and we want to assure all the displaced people in this world that we are on your side.
But in the midst of the sadness and craziness of this year, there have been glimmers of light and hope and this is thanks to individuals and organisations stepping up. All around the world people served their communities faithfully and brought relief to people directly or indirectly affected by Covid-19 or other challenges. People volunteered on the streets of their communities, worked in hospitals, found ways to keep teaching students, looked after children and other vulnerable people, collected rubbish, cleaned the streets, donated money, coordinated activities, researched causes and cures, trusted experts and scientists, took trucks, minivans, mobile canteens, bicycles and boats to reach people, connected with others online, looked out for their neighbours, packed food parcels, purchased relief items, encouraged people, learned new things, served food, dealt with administrative and logistic tasks, carried boxes, promoted hygiene, cleaned their hands, wore their masks, prayed for people, laughed with people and mourned with people. All those are the frontline heroes of 2020!
2021 won’t immediately change everything, the case numbers are still high and restrictions are still in place. It will take many months before sufficient numbers of people will be vaccinated and it will take even longer until the economic impact has stabilised or the personal loss will feel less raw and painful. But it is good to know that the frontline heroes of 2020 are still there in 2021, still faithfully contributing to a better tomorrow. Thanks to these people, thanks to medical and research achievements, thanks to virtual ways of connecting with friends and family, thanks to many small and big blessings we hope that by the end of this year the world will look a bit better than today.