The prolific American writer Agnes Mae Pharo (1904-1986) was perhaps most famous for her quote about Christmas. A quote that for me, this year seems to have more meaning than every before. She wrote.
“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”
This year certainly has been a frought one. For the world and later for New Zealand, we have been caught up in the tide that is the pandemic. As we come to the end of the year, emotions are running high. Businesses have been forced to close to comply with health and safety measure on a scale never seen before, some never to open again. Recent data shows Auckland businesses closures up 13.8%. Families have been separated at hard land borders in times of great joy and despair. Financial assistance has been meted out at a scale that has seen Government debt exceed $100 billion, more than 70 percent on pre-COVID-19 levels. We have seen mandates in business sectors that have seen the loss of over 1300 health jobs and an unknown number in education. The pandemic looms over us as an ever-growing threat to our health and our economy. But regardless of how things will continue to evolve, life has gone on for many of us and will continue to do so. The personal challenges that each of us face can often be more polarizing than those of the nation. It is a wise thing to focus on the things that matter to us personally, and not get lost in the bigger picture. Each of us makes decisions we hope that are for the best.
With the borders reopening allowing travel throughout our beautiful country, the Christmas season and summer break is an opportunity for some sort of normality to return to our lives and with that, down time and the ability to make connections to the things we love to do and the people we love to be with. Getting out and about and supporting the local businesses is vital to help them recover. It is our chance to count our blessings, dwell on the positives and do and say the things that will give us peace.
The team at elocal thanks you for your support this year, we have had an amazing response to some of our articles, we have heard from so many of you! We know that our sometimes different perspective on things encourages discussion and debate, something that is healthy and necessary in a democratic nation. We wish you and your families a safe and Happy Christmas and look forward to 2022, whatever that may hold.