We are about to celebrate Christmas in a way that just months, even weeks, ago didn't seem likely.
The relentless march of the COVID-19 pandemic through Melbourne after the virus escape hotel quarantine suggested a very different yuletide season.
We would be able to celebrate with those in our own household, was the pervading belief, but family reunions on the big day were unlikely.
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That wasn't a pleasant scenario, but we also accepted this was overwhelmingly easier to take than spreading the deadly contagion.
Given the particular vulnerability to COVID-19 for the elderly, it was always going to be a sensible course, and one with which no one could rightly argue.
We have since seen isolated break-outs of the virus - the most recent, of course, being the few cases now being reported in Sydney - but it was the success of the substantial lockdown in Melbourne that painted Christmas 2020 in a new light.
And if ever there was a time where we could celebrate being together after such a monumental year, this is the one.
What now makes this even more significant is the news that it won't be too long before COVID-19 vaccines become available on the Border.
Social distancing and related measures introduced to limit the pandemic's spread will still play a key role, but knowing there will also be a vaccine in use will further ease the community's long-running anxiety.
It has been revealed that February to March will be when we see the first vaccinations take place.
Importantly, it's the most vulnerable who will be targeted first, as it should be.
The experience of Melbourne, where the vast majority of deaths and serious illnesses emanating from COVID-19 were among aged care residents, illustrates why this is so important.
Protecting the over-70s will be an important, comforting first step in what will be a massive program to eventually vaccinate all across our communities.
And for that we can only be grateful.