Liberty Vittert: As COVID deaths mount, greatest gift we can give our loved ones is to stay away

The end of this pandemic nearly here. If we can just sacrifice a little bit longer the future will be bright

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Having lived through this year of tragedy, economic disaster and sorrow, we finally have been given the most wonderful gift this holiday season; the promise of enough COVID-19 vaccines in coming months for all Americans.

This is a time to celebrate, be thankful, have incredible hope, and give our loved ones the greatest gift we can: to stay away from each other.

With the news of the two successful vaccines and more likely on the way, it can be easy to forget that the danger of a disease that has killed over 1.7 million people around the world and over 322,000 in the U.S. is still very much with us.


In fact, with COVID-19 infections at the highest level they have ever been in the United States, we are in more danger than ever. The greatest gift that the young can give to the old, children can give to parents, and grandkids can give to grandparents is the gift of distance, to avoid transmitting the coronavirus.

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On a recent night, I was walking down a wintery street in Old Town Alexandria, Va., listening to the jingle of Christmas music waft through the air and enjoying the twinkling of some of the most beautiful Christmas lights I have ever seen.

It is "the most wonderful time of the year," as I could hear Andy Williams sing in his softly enchanting voice. But I think that with all the holiday cheer, I had forgotten what the holidays really were originally about: sacrifice.

For Christians, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, born in order to atone for our sins; giving his life in the ultimate sacrifice.

For Jews, Hanukkah commemorates a bloody revolt by Jews against the Seleucid Empire and a years-long battle in which an untold number gave their lives in the ultimate sacrifice to preserve their faith.

Both these holidays have a common thread: they recognize and celebrate the sacrifices that have been made to protect others.

With millions of Americans out of work, tens of thousands of small businesses permanently closed, livelihoods decimated, and the death toll growing by thousands every day, it is up to each of us to now make a sacrifice during this holiday season.

We have to sacrifice the one thing that we all so desperately want to do: be with each other. The greatest gift we can give is to stay away so that on the next holiday season we can all be safely together.


It is so painful to see your family members from afar, to only get a virtual image, to not be able to feel the warmth of physical affection. I want to hug my parents so badly I can’t stand it. But I want to be able to hug them in the years to come as well, and if I give in to my desire to spend this holiday season together I am risking that. It is not a risk I should take and it is certainly not a risk I should force upon others.

We have lasted this long, we have made it this far, and we finally have the hope we have been so desperately waiting for: vaccines.


The end of this pandemic nearly here. If we can just sacrifice a little bit longer the future will be bright, and that hug I want so anxiously to give my parents will be possible for as many holiday seasons as God is good enough to give us.

So I ask you this holiday season, be patient just a little longer, and give the greatest gift you can: stay away for good health and a brighter future.