Nostalgic Christmas markets with kids' activities in Dubai
Nostalgic Christmas markets with kids' activities in Dubai Image Credit: Tiard Schulz/ Unsplash

Billions of people around the world will be celebrating Christmas and the festive season that carries on to the turn of the calendar onto 2022. It is a time traditionally when families come together, where gifts are exchanged and where, in the middle of the dark days of winter, there is hope.

These past two Christmas celebrations have been difficult for many, with families and loved one being forced to stay apart because of necessary social distancing rules to safeguard against the coronavirus.

This year, in part because of the success of the roll-out of the vaccination programme in many parts of the world, the reins have been loosened just a little, offering at least a limited opportunity to gather with family and loved ones.

Yes, regardless of faith, hope is always a commodity that we can freely enjoy. We have just passed the shortest day of the year, a time when the planet we all share is at its most distant from the warming rays of the Sun. But Christmas is a reminder that there is light and warmth coming — better days for all are just around the corner.

In the next few days too we will be celebrating the arrival of 2022 — again a festive occasion where there is always optimism that things will be better. And indeed they will. We have all come so far together, being tested as never before in times of peace.

This Christmas Day, regardless if you are celebrating the spiritual aspect of the day, it’s a perfect opportunity to reflect on the value of friends and family. Yes, we do wish for peace on Earth. We long too for large gatherings and sharing laughs and tears of joy with our loved ones.

Around the world, there are many who cannot feel the warm embrace of others, who are homeless, hungry or facing challenges brought by climate change, political or social upheaval. Think of those today and thank your lucky stars that there are many who would love to have the blessings of your life.

Think too of those who dedicate so much time to helping others and seeking nothing in return.

And on this Christmas Day, remember all of the public health and hospital staff who have given so much at every level these past 22 months. They are true heroes, and deserve our best wishes — and far more. To them, to all, have a safe and happy Christmas.