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No matter the religious persuasion, Christmas is celebrated throughout Trinidad and Tobago, by all citizens in one way or the other.

For Christians, it is a season to rejoice and worship, as it marks the birth of the Christ child who would go on to sacrifice his life for the sins of man. For others, it represents a time to strengthen relationships and bonds with family, friends and to lend a hand to others in need.

It is truly a magical time.

But for the second year straight, the famed Trini Christmas is being overshadowed by COVID-19. Unlike the Yuletide season in 2020, the country is experiencing its worst wave of cases and deaths since the start of the pandemic in March last year.

For the relatives of the 2,591 people, including children, who died from the virus in 2021, there would be very little merriment, if any at all, as they are forced to face Christmas and life without their loved ones.

With over 16,000 active COVID cases in the country, many are spending the holidays in the hospital or confined and being cared for at home.

Even thousands more are quarantined and staying put, after coming into contact with a COVID-positive person.

Christmas 2021 is just not what the country hoped for at the start of the year.

But while Christmas lights may not be shining so brightly this time, the spirit of the season and what it embodies must never be forgotten.

Christmas is not just about the commercialised interests of shopping and gift buying, but rather a time to look forward to the future in hope.

The celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ teaches us that hope lies ahead on the horizon. In fact, hope is even closer if we are prepared to work hard and make the sacrifices just like Christ did.

We too in T&T can look ahead with hope, to emerge from this period of sickness, death and gloom and rid ourselves of the hefty burden that COVID-19 has placed in our lives.

But just as the Holy Bible relates the story of Christ, sacrifices must be made.

So we too must be willing to be selfless.

We must be willing to rid ourselves of our misgivings, bad habits and ignorance and do what is required to ensure Christmas 2022 is a true Trini Christmas.

Sacrifices must be made.

Let us all use this Christmas holiday to reflect on what has been, remember those we lost and renew our fortitude to take T&T in the right direction and finally turn our backs on COVID-19.