As we go about our annual traditions of wishing one another a joyful holiday season, writing festive cards to our friends and family, and deciding which wreath is best to hang on our door, this time of year reminds us of just how this year has come full-circle.
After all, it was around this time last year that we first began to hear of a mysterious illness outbreak in Wuhan, China. Very few of us - those who aren’t infectious disease experts, of course - could have predicted how swiftly our lives would be changed and upended by the outbreak of Covid-19.
There are many lessons to be learned from 2020, but I truly believe that the most poignant of them is the capacity to see good and positivity in our community, both on a local, state, and national scale. While it’s certainly possible to see the negatives - the fear of unemployment, the looming threat of a novel disease - it’s only by looking at the positives that we will be able to remain strong enough to persist through to the end of this pandemic.
I was very heartened by how numerous members of our town’s community made a powerful effort to raise badly-needed medical supplies, such as gloves and face masks, for our local Massachusetts-area hospitals, such as Beverly Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Likewise, as numerous businesses struggled throughout the early spring months of the pandemic as all revenue came to a screeching halt, many members of the community took it upon themselves to promote and support our local small businesses - as they are the backbone of our economy. Remember, according to the Small Business Administration, small businesses make up 99.9% of businesses in our country!
And of course, the light at the end of this dark, year-long tunnel - the arrival of a vaccine against Covid-19. Of the two vaccines currently cleared for usage, those of Pfizer and Moderna, the latter is a Boston-based company! We are incredibly grateful to the healthcare workers and immunologists working on vaccine development.
Another key demographic that has displayed profound resilience throughout this pandemic has been a less-heralded one - that of parents. Particularly working parents, who have had to balance tumultuous changes in their own careers this year with the added responsibility of serving as a “supplemental teacher,” of sorts, in order to ensure that their children absorb the full education that they are getting in these unprecedented times.
It’s been a difficult year, no doubt about it. But if anything, we are proving how resilient we are as a community on so many levels. This year has not only led to a greater appreciation of all that we have, but it has also reaffirmed a belief in humanity’s incredible ability to persevere against all odds.
So go out there, celebrate a safe New Year’s Eve with your close family, and ring in 2021 to herald the beginning of new year and a new beginning.
To all, a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and a joyous, safe holiday season!