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Today is January 22, 2021


Hope, love and faith

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

Everyone knows from past columns that I am a HUGE fan of Christmas and I have opined on everything from Christmas greetings to Christmas movies.

However, despite all my Christmas cheer, I was taken aback to see folks hanging Christmas lights the first week of November! We haven’t even buried Halloween and my neighbors were hanging Christmas lights. Actually, they are paying someone to hang lights for them, which in my book is cheating. Until you and your spouse have hung Christmas decorations, you never really know how strong your marriage is! It’s been 31 years and counting for us.

Normally this would give me cause to rant about keeping holidays in order and not overlooking Thanksgiving, but this is 2020, so these are not normal times. This will be the first Christmas any of us have experienced during a pandemic. I would imagine that there will be no Christmas festivals or parades. My annual trip to the City of Canton’s downtown square to see the lights and get our annual picture of the family in a horse-drawn carriage won’t happen if the event is canceled. The kids’ picture with Santa is probably over as well.

I love seeing my 23, 20 and 17-year-old kids gathered around Santa. It reminds me of the children that got so excited on Christmas morning. Now, my wife has to drag them out of bed, or they will sleep until lunchtime. And speaking of lunch, I imagine the family gatherings will be smaller as grandparents and older relatives try to keep themselves safe from COVID-19. My parents have already informed me that a Zoom Christmas is just fine with them.

Holiday hugs are gone, unless you can figure out how to hug someone from 6 feet away. Forget about Christmas smiles. You can’t see a smile hidden under a mask. Still, please wear your mask. I’m afraid Christmas 2020 is going to be very different from the Christmases of the past.

However, even though our celebrations and traditions might have to change this year, Christmas will never change. Christmas is about hope, love and faith. Hope for our future and the future of mankind. Love of ourselves, our family and our neighbors. Faith in God, that regardless of what we have to deal with in this life, He will always be there for us and as proof He sent us his only Son.

Everyone has suffered in 2020. Some lost their jobs, others couldn’t work and suffered financial hardship and many first responders and medical professionals worked long hours and put themselves in harm’s way so that others may live.

So, as the year comes to an end, it’s hard for me to deny that we all could use some faith, hope and love. If hanging your Christmas lights early does that for you, then go ahead, I won’t argue. Well, not until 2021. But for now, in 2020, from myself and the entire electric cooperative family, have a safe and Merry Christmas and here’s to a Happy (and much better) New Year!

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