Speaking during the week the Cathaoirleach of the Castleblayney/Carrickmacross Municiple District Cllr Aidan Campbell has being wishing that this Christmas we need a message of hope in what has been a strange and challenging year.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone” (Isaiah 9:1). With these prophetic words, Isaiah captures the meaning of Christmas.
Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, the Savior of the world. He is the Light of the world ( John 8:12), and He comes to illumine the darkness. And we have had our fair share of darkness this year although we are not out of the darkness yet we have to look forward to the light of Christmas and a time in the future where Covid-19 will be a memory.The season of Christmas is a season of light and hope.
“Christmas is a time for coming home and being with family. However this year we are being asked to be cautious and limit our social contacts which is totally against our nature but we need to listen to the experts and protect the vunerable and those who would be prone to the virus. And while
Christmas can often be a difficult and lonely time for people aswell.
This will be magnified by the year that we have all experienced and the constraints this virus places on the lives of some people, especially those more vulnerable.
Over the coming weeks, there will be a real challenge individually and collectively. While society and the economy are reopening, we have choices to make which will have a significant impact on how we manage COVID-19 into the next year.
With the huge and understandable interest in vaccines and their rollout – here and around the world. There is a lot of work going on at the moment and there is at last hope for the future.
With this interest there will be a lot of information and a lot of discussion in the public sphere – and especially on social media.
There will be different viewpoints and different theories – It is important that we get our information from reliable sources.
The approval processes for these things are exacting and rigorous.
We have to have hope and listen to the facts from the experts.
We saw data published last week by the CSO where one in three people surveyed in November rated their overall life satisfaction as ‘low’. The amount of people who reported feeling downhearted and depressed doubled between April and November this year. We have to acknowledge that this has been a very tough year for people and there’s a bit to go yet.
We are being bombarded with Covid-19 news on all media platforms day and night and it can become overwhelming not to mention Brexit.
Campbell went on to commend the recent launch by the Government of #KeepWell campaign which aims to show people of all ages how we can mind our own physical and mental health and wellbeing by adding healthy and helpful habits to our daily and weekly routines.
The simple things like getting out into the open air and going for a walk makes a difference for us all. Keeping connected with people who live on their own.
Monaghan County Council’s Monaghan Age Friendly Programme, have played a big part in this including helping people in nursing homes feel connected with the community.
This year again when we have not being able to get into the nursing homes to see our loved one has been very very hard. I have an Uncle who resides in a nursing home and when you are trying to have a conversation through a window, wearing a mask and I know that lots of people are in the same situation with loved ones its hard and has to be hard for our loved ones too. We also owe a death of gradditude to all the front line workers who work in the Nursing homes and who take such great care of our loved ones at this time. Indeed for all the front line workers in all areas we say a big THANK YOU.
There are resources to help you keep well this Christmas – check out full county listings on gov.ie/healthyireland
A range of other supports are also available, for example, The Community Call, you can find their details on gov.ie. There are also links to mental health supports that you might need at this time and those services are being delivered in innovative ways.
At this busy time of the year, I would encourage everyone to shop local to support the local businesses who have had such a difficult year being closed for long spells. You can still shop online and with so many local traders/businesses who have an online presence. Please support local.
You can still order over the phone and collect your goods or have them delivered.
If you go out shopping, wrap up warm in case you have to queue.
Try to shop at off-peak times and keep a 2 meter distance from other shoppers.
You must wear your mask in store for your safety and for that of other shoppers and staff.
Try to keep our shoppping to a minimun and remember to use hand sanitiser on entering and leaving the shop.
As has been mentioned so often if you are planning on spending time with someone who is more vulnerable to COVID-19 take this into account when planning your activities and restrict your movements as appropriate.
“Celebrations of Christmas with families this year will be tempered by the physical distancing and other restrictions brought on by our concern to protect each other from the Covid-19 however If we can do it this Christmas though, we can start off next year holding on to the freedoms we do have, and hopefully, next Christmas this will be a memory we can look back on and talk about as something we have overcome.
In Conclusion Cllr Campbell believes we have to have hope for this Christmas and for 2020. Go mbeidh Nollaig bheannaithe agat atá lán le háthas agus ag gach duine atá i do shaol. Agus bliain úr shláintiúil faoi mhaise duit.