From restrictions on how many people can gather to just being cautious for our grandparents, COVID-19 is changing a lot of people’s plans this Christmas. But as military teens, not being able to see all your relatives every Christmas is the norm; as you move around, you won’t always be living nearby. Flying/driving all over the place to visit people for holidays is expensive, time-consuming, and while often worth it, there’s probably been multiple holidays before this year where you just celebrated with your close family. And of course, it’s even worse if one of your parents was deployed during Christmas.
The Christmas tree in my village square- usually full of people waiting for the bus to school/work is now an empty lot. Whether or not Switzerland goes into full lockdown (no one leaves the house except for grocery store, no gatherings at all for Christmas) before Christmas is up in the air...
The rest of the US though, up until now, has mostly (at least) had the option though of meeting together with extended family for Christmas. So this coronavirus Christmas isn’t something they’re prepared for. The military is used to making sacrifices for our country, but the general public not so much. "In fact, that's the exact reason why the military makes sacrifices, so the rest of America doesn't have to.
But sometimes, we ask the question, is it worth making sacrifices? Is it worth your parents going on deployments and having to move every 2-3 years for the good of America? Is it worth having coronavirus restrictions to protect the elderly and ensure that hospitals aren’t full? Is it worth not getting together with as many people for Christmas? I say yes to all the above, but that’s my opinion; honestly, there’s not a really straightforward answer to any of those questions. It’s all about how much you love America, or how much you care about the elderly and healthcare workers, or how much you want to live a normal life. Perhaps by making small sacrifices here and there though, we can better appreciate how much Christ loves us, to have considered being born in a stable and living a human life, ending with a painful death on the cross “worth it."
Back to what I was saying earlier though- Christmas might look different this year. Even discarding borders and quarantines, restrictions and etc… other things will also be different, such as cancellation of Christmas markets in Switzerland and Germany, and masked Santas behind plexiglass in the malls of America. The true reason for Christmas though, Christ’s birth, actually shines brighter than ever before. There are fewer distractions now, a lot less commercialism, and though church is only online some places, I believe God is far greater than to be limited by the format of a worship service. If you’re not a Christian, you still might not have much better to do than turn on your TV on the 24th or 25th and watch a live-stream church.
The mostly empty University of Zurich with lovely snow and Christmas decorations, but only open for a few things, like an exam I had in-person. Unlike in Germany, Italy, and France, Swiss ski resorts are still open (masks and socially distanced, of course).
For me just starting my life as a student in Switzerland, with my parents and little brother still living in Korea, this will be my first Christmas without even my close family; I’d have to quarantine to visit them, and with an in-person exam in the middle of December, I wouldn’t even get out of quarantine in Korea in time for Christmas. Though I’m sad not to see my family this Christmas, I’m quite thankful to live in Switzerland. I have a great church to celebrate the true reason for the season and I will enjoy carving through snow all winter long.
Life as a military teen can be difficult, but I hope that you won’t be depressed this Christmas due to COVID/restrictions; hopefully, the coronavirus is just another challenge that your whole life with the military has been preparing you for. But if in doubt, ask God for help, and/or follow the links at the bottom of the screen.
If you or someone you love needs help during this tough time, check out our Resources page for links to mental health resources. If you or someone you love might have COVID-19, click here for the CDC's instructions. We encourage you to do everything you can to keep yourself and others safe! Additionally, all of the opinions/beliefs expressed in articles belong solely to the author and are not a reflection of the views of Bloom and its staff. Bloom supports and encourages military kids from all religious backgrounds to share their truths. Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!