When it comes to bringing humanity together for worship, celebration, parties, feasting and shopping, nothing compares to Christmas.
It is the absolute antithesis to emergency order lockdowns and restrictions which Anchorage’s acting mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson has imposed on churches, businesses, entertainment venues and others across town. Typically, these facilities are bursting at the seems in the lead up to Dec. 25.
It’s long past time to open wide our churches, schools, homes, businesses and hearts to fellow Alaskans.
As the celebration of Christ’s birth nears, however, there are serious cracks beginning to form in the unelected acting mayor’s mandates. It remains to be seen whether she has the militancy to order her growing cadre of code enforcers to hit the streets in the last days before Christmas to threaten churches, private parties and businesses – all struggling under her dictates.
Last week Anchorage Baptist Temple held a widely advertised, three-day, in-person Christmas festival for the larger community. On Dec. 19 businesses around the city opened or reopened with caravans from the Mat-Su and other locations bringing waves of supporters to boost bottom lines. Most importantly, many churches will hold some of their most well-attended services, concerts and liturgies of the year.
All of this is happening at a time when state health officials admit that daily COVID case counts, hospitalizations, and deaths are in steady decline – and none of this is attributable to the experimental vaccine, which only arrived a few days ago.
ALASKA WATCHMAN DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX
COVID-19 is a real virus that has infected somewhere between 207,000 and 414,000 Alaskans according to state health officials who have said repeatedly that there is likely five to ten times more cases than the official 41,000 reported on the state’s website. If the lower estimate of 207,000 cases is accurate that means that just 0.4% of cases wind up in the hospital and only 0.09% end in death. Put another way, 99.6% of those infected do not go to the hospital and 99.91% of cases don’t end in death.
Like all diseases, our elderly are most vulnerable and reasonable measures are prudent when visiting them, but it’s long past time to open wide our churches, schools, homes, businesses and hearts to fellow Alaskans.
Christmas began, after all, by gathering people of different nationalities, languages and households to celebrate the arrival of Emanuel – God WITH us.