The current Covid-19 pandemic means by its very nature that Christmas will be celebrated in Australia in a slightly subdued manner. While things will proceed in a usual way, there will be specific rules in place that used to be absent before the deadly pandemic reared its ugly head. We are living through extraordinary times, so notable regulations will have to be followed whether we like it or not.
Many of the churches and other houses of worship throughout Australia have quite vocally expressed their dissatisfaction with the government’s unfair policies. While the government has allowed many rock concerts and other entertainment venues to carry on their festivities without any hindrance of any kind, it has been over the top in the restrictions it has imposed on religious places of worship. This shows a lack of understanding of the feelings of holy and pious people who want to worship their Creator and participate in the rituals of their religion(s) with relative freedom.
You cannot have one set of rules for one group of people and another set for another clique. To upset a particular segment of the country is to ask for trouble. Especially when it comes to the personal lives of people, too much interference by the state is perceived as oppression and injustice.
The Coronavirus-caused wave of deaths throughout the Global Village has made it necessary to take certain precautions at all times. We all know them, and they do not need going into here. Yet you cannot neurotically hide from this disease. You have to live your life, and that includes going to work, gaining an education, seeking out entertainment, eating good food, keeping up social values and most of all practising your faith. Keeping all this in mind, the government of Australia has come up with some guidelines on how Christmas is to be celebrated this winter before the New Year is ushered in.
The density per person in a house of worship is determined, and so is the same value in an open place of ritual. The former is one person per two square meters of space. If the strength of people in the building dedicated to the Lord is less than about two dozen, then this rule does not apply. A maximum of 150 people inside and 300 outside are the norms. The safety measures count for synagogues, mosques and temples as well.
Church leaders have spoken up about the sad fact that the consumer drive is all that is being concentrated upon during Yuletide. Such should not be so since it is a false value to just materialistically enjoy what is meant to be a source of rich satisfaction on a spiritual level. The magic and meaning of Christmas lie in the thoughts and feelings that exist in the hearts and souls of ordinary individuals. To give, love, care, and share is what the season is all about. It is all about random acts of kindness and not solely about how much money you spend. Church services are crucial to bringing greater purpose and satisfaction into the lives of those who worship and believe in God. The government has therefore eased some of the previously unfair and draconian restrictions on religious expression this Christmas. Different states and territories of Australia have different rules and regulations which apply to Church activities held inside their jurisdiction. Especially the singing of carols by a choir will have to be different this time around since it could dramatically cause the spread of Coronavirus. Other than that, people are encouraged to take things generally as they come despite the troubled times of panic we are passing through.