Honestly and between you and me, have you ever spent Christmas alone? Silent night, lonely night? In November, when a top German politician called this year's Christmas the "hardest Christmas the post-war generations have ever experienced," there was an outcry. "Forgetting history" was still one of the most innocuous reactions.
The Corona contact restrictions will keep us at home during the holidays, but they will not take away the joy of the festivities. On the contrary: Christmas 2020 will be the most wonderful event this year!
Digital proximity beats physical distance
Let’s give ourselves and our loved ones a gift by staying at home and bravely upholding the Corona slogan of 2020 at Christmas: “Stay at home!” We enter into a new relationship: with ourselves and our family, friends and neighbors. CORONA is becoming an accelerator of bonds and relationships. We are learning to appreciate distance and thereby re-living the quality of our connectedness to the world and environment. The more we physically distance ourselves, the more we seek digital proximity to our loved ones. We are redefining our relationship between? proximity and distance, thanks to Corona. This is because the crisis sharpens our focus on what is really important to us. Crowded department stores, endless shopping and alcohol-filled Christmas parties are certainly not among them. Let’s do without them and turn to the true value of Christmas: Love, deceleration, friendship.
Loneliness is worse than Corona
This Corona experience will also apply in the future. One megatrend is primarily responsible for this: demographic and social change. Single households are on the rise. Their number has increased enormously throughout Europe in the last 30 years. Health experts speak of a new social disease: loneliness. It is on the rise, especially among the young and the elderly. Loneliness, not Corona, is the disease of our time. However, we will not fight it with political means such as “loneliness ministers,” as is the case in England. We need new cultural techniques in the fight against isolation.
Welcome to the co-world!
We should therefore take the digital tools from the Corona era into the future and improve them further: Neighborhood platforms, spontaneous online meetings and conversations, video talk sessions, wine tastings, seminars and sports. And even church services. Trends such as co-living, co-working, co-practicing and co-playing can also be lived and experienced digitally. The 50-plus generation in particular is conquering the digital social world. They have long been the majority on dating sites and in neighborhood forums. Generations Y and Z have long since realized that Facebook belongs to the elderly. The former equation “old equals lonely” no longer applies in the digital world. The younger generation can learn a lot from their (digital) wisdom. We are still at the very beginning of a new social and cultural development with enormous opportunities for churches, associations, initiatives and for all of us.
Together instead of alone
“It is not man that man should be alone!” says the Old Testament, “I will make him a helpmeet to be around him.” Artificial intelligence and digital tools did not exist before Christ. Today, no one has to live alone and lonely, not even in quarantine for weeks. In tomorrow’s digitally networked society, we have the chance to gain new (friend) families in addition to the old ones we are familiar with. Socially intelligent digitization will make us more united instead of more lonely. The old fear of digital loneliness from the pre-Corona era is turning into the opposite. Sometimes we need to keep our distance to get to know our fellow human beings and ourselves better. This year at Christmas and, in the future also after Corona.
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Since the Chinese government changed its COVID strategy in December, the number of cases within the country has increased significantly. As a result, we experience a growing concern and questions about medical care in China. Our service centre in Beijing is closely monitoring the situation on the ground and in the various parts of the country and is always available to provide advice and support to our policyholders.
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