As the holidays are now upon us, I have been reflecting on the unanticipated challenges of 2020.

COVID-19 has created significant health, social and economic disruptions, impacting all of us. Through it all, I have witnessed the people of Monroe County take care of one another — working more hours to care for our sick and educate our children, volunteering countless hours to deliver groceries and make facial coverings, and even strongly supporting our small businesses by shopping local.

As we prepare to safely celebrate with family and loved ones this Christmas, let’s continue to care for and be kind to one another. When possible, take the time to reach out to members of our community experiencing isolation, loneliness and hardship. A smile, a wave, a phone call and a willingness to help can make all the difference in someone’s day.

Following CDC guidelines as you celebrate will assist all of us in keeping the community spread of COVID-19 as low as possible. During a time when all hope may seem lost, you can still find real hope this Christmas by looking to the very first Christmas. May this season bring you and your family joy, peace and hope.

Isaiah 9:6 reminds us: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

With the close of such a tumultuous year, I hope you are able to find peace and comfort with loved ones. I leave you with this quote from Paul Theroux, “Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.”

May our collective time away over the next few weeks produce each of these in great measure. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Mitch Ingram is the mayor of Monroe County

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