Celebrating Amidst The Distance
The Covid-19 crisis has led to a “new normal” being adopted across the globe. Everywhere people are keeping their distances, wearing face masks and taking great care not to infect others. How then, can we continue to show care and love to others, if we’re not supposed to be near them?
With so many festivities on the Malaysian calendar, special occasions like birthdays, Easter, Mother’s Day and Teacher’s Day have been celebrated differently this year – if at all. Important celebrations like Hari Raya, Gawai, Kaamatan and Father’s Day may not be done the usual way, with interstate travel banned and balik kampung no longer a possibility. Things may never be the same again.
Some of us may feel helpless, anxious or disheartened with these new lifestyle changes. But in times of darkness, we can look for the light that gives us hope and remember that God can use all things for good (Romans 8:28). As we protect ourselves and the vulnerable by social distancing, we can also follow God’s call to continue loving others through some suggestions below:
(1) Making a simple phone call
With all the digital options available today, making a simple phone call seems old school. But sometimes old school does the trick, because just hearing someone’s voice can be enough to lift one’s spirits. Video calls may be great for seeing the children or grandchildren, but phone calls enable us to concentrate on one person at a time, making our conversations more meaningful, intimate and less distracted.
(2) Sending a special gift
This could be a meal, a cake, flowers, gifts or a “care package” containing their favourite foods and comfort items. It could even be a grocery run to tie them through the week ahead. Simply look for a hypermarket, florist or baker that delivers to their area, especially if your loved ones are not living in the same state. All kinds of delivery are possible these days with technology – from balloons to cupcakes to clothing, gadgets and more.
(3) Writing a letter by hand
These days, we have lost the art of writing a note, postcard or letter by hand. But putting pen to paper adds a personal touch that is far more authentic than shooting off a quick text. Unlike a Whatsapp message, a letter lives on forever, and it can be re-read and cherished for years to come. The Apostle Paul wrote letters to the early church to encourage, instruct, comfort and even rebuke. Today, his letters, known as epistles, make up 13 books of the New Testament.
(4) Praying for someone who comes to mind
Sometimes the name of a person crops up in our mind, and it could be the prompting of the Holy Spirit to lead us to pray, call or care for the person. I remember someone emailing once to say he’d just prayed for me because my name came up in his mind. True enough, I was going through a difficult time with a new project. But his short email assured me that the Lord of the Universe cares enough to have one of his children pray for me. It is the reality of 1 Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
(5) Sharing your faith
Faith offers a source of comfort in trying times, and it’s something you can share whether you’re side by side or in different locations. Send over your favourite religious or inspirational quotes, or share devotions that may help during these uncertain times. When the world feels like it’s falling apart, Christians can display the peace and comfort found through faith in Jesus, and use it as an opportunity to witness to our loved ones.
Covid-19 has caused many of us to be separated from friends, family and loved ones. If anything, it’s only reminded how precious life is, and how many things we can truly do without. It has reminded us how important it is to appreciate the people we love, and how we can still celebrate special occasions whilst doing our part to keep them safe and healthy. – W.P. Lim
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