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A season for miracles, both then and now

Easter is a miraculous day.

Obviously, the miracle of Jesus’ resurrection is the reason that Easter exists. The Bible tells us in the New Testament that three days after the Romans crucified Jesus on the cross, he rose from his tomb and ascended bodily into heaven.

While this is the miracle that Christians celebrate, many of the traditions that surround the holiday date pack to pre-Christian times. Easter eggs, for example, are believed to represent fertility and birth; the Easter Bunny may symbolize those same things, as rabbits are notorious for the ability to procreate.

For ancient pagans, these symbols and traditions were part of their celebration of a different type of miracle — the arrival of spring and the rebirth of the natural world.

This year, the holiday will mark seemingly miraculous reunions for many families. Cooped up and kept apart by the coronavirus pandemic, many families were unable to celebrate Easter 2020 together. The same was true for July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays and important occasions.

As more and more people are getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, there is growing hope that the outbreak of this potentially deadly illness will be brought under control and that life will return to a state we deem more normal.

For a few weeks, case numbers in the local area and across the Buckeye State were declining. As a result, many communities opted to plan Easter activities — especially for children. Egg hunts, parades and visits with the Easter Bunny will occur this weekend.

In addition, grandparents who are eager to hug their grandchildren, siblings who have been missing one another and extended families and friends who have not been together in person for a year are planning to celebrate. Many homes will host large gatherings and delicious feasts, centered around a big, juicy ham or a roasted leg of lamb.

In some cases, these gatherings may be fairly safe. If all attendees have been fully vaccinated, there is little chance of anyone becoming infected. Unfortunately, most people under about 65 years of age are not fully vaccinated. Some over 40 have had their first doses, but they are still waiting to receive a required second dose. It’s very likely that people who are younger than that have not yet had the opportunity to receive even their first shot.

Under those circumstances, there is still a great deal of risk involved with such get-togethers. Local health officials tell us that the spread we are seeing now is largely the result of family gatherings. They ask us to seriously consider: Is it worth the risk?

Of course we all want to see each other again. Aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents long to watch little ones get smeared with chocolate candy or hunt for Easter eggs their elders have concealed. We want to break bread together, to talk and laugh again.

We are nearing the end of this fight, though, and we must do our best not to lose ground.

If you do choose to join family or friends in a holiday celebration this year, remember that it is best not to let down your guard. Continue to practice social distancing. Take activities and meals outdoors or into well-ventilated spaces if at all possible. Wash your hands often, remembering to use warm water and soap and to spend at least 20 seconds doing so. Above all, wear a mask.

If we all take these precautions for a bit longer, we can win this battle against an unseen enemy. Let’s remember that and hold out hope for another miracle.

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