No matter how tough the year, Christmas is the break that most households long for and not just in those where Father Christmas is awaited.
The last thing anyone wants to do is to ruin plans that take such effort and to which people greatly look forward. Whatsmore even a “normal” Christmas can for some be a time of loneliness with mental health concerns often increasing over the holiday: no one would wish to compound the concerns.
All four nations of the UK were right to try and ease restrictions over Christmas. They have also been right, on the back of the evidence, to rein them in.
While Horsham remains Tier 2, near-neighbouring areas in East Sussex and Surrey will not be able to mix households on Christmas Day and the new restrictions effect us all.
The new Covid-19 variant now widely spreading in London and the South East appears to be significantly more transmissible. Even if it is no less lethal, the impact if the pace of increase in affected areas continues would be immense.
Action had to be taken to reduce the spread.
Alone in Europe (Switzerland is about to start) we have a vaccine programme underway. It seems possible that the Oxford Vaccine – which is much easier to administer – may also be given the green light this month.
This really is a cause for hope. We must all look beyond the dreadful impact of Covid on peoples’ lives, being manifested in so many different ways, to a better year ahead.
Christmas is usually a time, of course, for families to come together, to remember happy times and celebrate. There were festivals around the time of the longest night of the year, meeting that need to be together, long before Christianity came to these shores. This year for many the festivities will be curtailed. Many will endure the pain of not being with loved ones.
However the fundamental Christmas message is one of hope, of a triumph to come. It is one that brings people together in other ways – so evident this year as people supported friends and neighbours who needed their help. It is also a message of service – and as many relax in whatever way is possible on Christmas Day there will be hundreds of thousands in our hospitals and ambulances and throughout our emergency and armed services working for us all as they have throughout the year. For them we say a profound thank you.