As we move through the Christmas season and into the new year, I felt it was an appropriate time to reflect on this past year, one that has been unlike any that I have experienced in my life. We began this year preparing for the 2020 Session, with every expectation that 2020 would unfold much like 2019, save for the fact that we were heading toward a presidential election.
Instead, 2020 has dealt us all an unexpected hand. When we learned in March that COVID-19 had begun to impact Georgia the way it had - requiring us to temporarily suspend the session and support the governor in his declaration of a public health state of emergency – we all hoped and prayed that we would shortly be back to “normal.”
Although many aspects of our lives have yet to return to normal, in everyday moments I often feel hints of the “normal” that we hope will be returning to us all soon. Whether it’s a meal with your close family, spending time in the dove field, or finding ways to reach out to elderly relatives safely, I encourage you all to embrace those moments and savor them.
With the news that multiple companies are distributing COVID-19 vaccines around the world, we all should be optimistic and hopeful that, though things may not be exactly as they were before, the “normal” that we are all seeking is just around the corner. If we can continue to follow the Georgia Department of Public Health’s safety guidelines, and with a good dose of common sense, we are ever closer to a more “normal” 2021.
As we look forward to a new year and the optimism and hope that a new year always brings, several families in Georgia that I know personally have suffered terrible losses this year. I would be remiss if I did not ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
For the family of Sen. Jack Hill and Mrs. Ruth Ann Hill, this was the first Christmas they celebrated without them. For the family of young Harrison Deal, his parents and siblings are also facing a Christmas without a young man who was a bright light to all those who knew him. The Kemp family, who considered Harrison one of their own, will also be struggling with his unexpected loss this holiday season.
As we celebrate with our families, whether in person or at a distance, keep the Hill, Deal and Kemp families in your thoughts and prayers. Their holiday seasons are forever changed, and they will need the support of those around them. Many of you will have similar heartfelt stories of family members and friends who have suffered.
This year has been challenging for us all, but I’d like to close with one of my favorite parts of the Christmas story, a message that has renewed meaning for all of us this year:
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
It is truly an honor to work for you and this great state. If you have any feedback, do not hesitate to call (404) 656-5052, email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.