Of Advent and vaccine

ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago-Visaya (The Freeman) - November 26, 2020 - 12:00am

Much has been written and said about how the world will return to normal when a vaccine is widely available. Negotiations are going on for the past weeks about securing the much-needed vaccine for coronavirus disease. After all, even months earlier, people all over the world were talking about this in order to end the pandemic. And several nations have responded to the call to produce the vaccine in need.

As we counted months and weeks, we finally have a clearer idea of its coming as countries and their pharmaceutical companies are already in their final phases of trial. The supply of vaccines to other countries, apart from their own, becomes a race between countries and pharmaceutical companies.

And certainly the first should be carried out for those hanging on to hope for an upcoming COVID-19 vaccine, as early as 'just after Christmas' would possibly have raised spirits.

We look at the vaccine's introduction as the end of a long battle with the disease. This will potentially end the pandemic and return to the “old" normal or launch a new one. For now we do not know that. In these dark times, while hope and optimism are very much needed, it is important to be clear. We need to express the strong message that while targeted vaccination can provide some protection, it will not simply deliver 'life as we used to know.'

But the arrival of our Lord Jesus into our lives is what we know for sure, as we celebrate Advent beginning this coming Sunday. This signifies the coming of our Lord as Jesus Child at Christmas. And maybe we are asking ourselves how are we going to prepare this time? Symbolically, what about the celebration part, His coming and the preparation leading to it? Will this be the same as earlier celebrations?

This time, I suppose, another level of celebration will take place. It is no longer the kind of celebration that motivates us to display the material endowments, the lavish parties and everything but to reflect on our time and resources on how we can really convey our concern and love for each other.

It tells and re-tells the message of why God, the Incarnation, came into this world, and also points to and looks forward to His coming again.

Advent, after all is a time to prepare for Christ's coming. Not only are we preparing to celebrate His birth, but we are getting ready for the second coming and recognizing how He comes to us in our everyday lives.

The usual time of the year as well as all family expectations, is hectic and busy with year-end events at school, work, and in the community. There's also the pressure on our ever-expanding lists to find the right presents for everybody while keeping to a budget and not over-marketing the holidays.

Now when we face some degree of health protocols and restrictions, this whole concept will certainly change, really in this way, far from earthly matter to profoundly spiritual.

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