And so this is Christmas.
So sang John Lennon in 1971. The Vietnam War took 2,414 American lives that year, so the song was a prayer of harmony and peace with a scrim of irony. Nor did the irony end there. Lennon was shot to death nine years later, 40 years ago Tuesday.
And if the events of 1971 seemed sharply at odds with the hope of the holiday, the same can surely be said of 2020.
On the surface, things seem much the same as they ever were, the same crush of manufactured joy and consumer avarice Charlie Brown’s been complaining about for 55 years.
On TV, the same photogenic families stand in the driveways of the same upscale homes, beckoning you to buy a luxury car to celebrate the night when, Christians believe, heaven touched Earth.
But this Christmas is not the same. It is a pandemic Christmas where death is already setting new records. Nearly 2,900 lives were lost in a single day last week, roughly equivalent to a 9/11 every 24 hours.