Amongst halls of masterpieces at the Museo del Prado in Madrid there is a painting by Jan Cossiers, a Flemish artist from Antwerp active in the mid-1600s. It depicts the Greek titan Prometheus escaping with the flame he stole from the heavenly Olympus. He defied the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity in order to progress life on Earth. 

As 2020 comes to a close, we are thinking about those who have brought light and hope to us in this unprecedented year. We reflect on the frontline medical teams, scientists, and essential workers who heroically risked their lives to improve ours. They were supported by all those who took daily actions and sacrifices, small and great, to keep each other safe from the plight of the pandemic that the world could not have envisioned. 

The flame that shines brightest this year is the vaccine, which promises to bestow us with “a means to mighty ends” and is a testament to modern science. We are proud that Belgium played a key role in this effort. The town of Puurs, until recently best known for their potent Duvel beer, is now a leading manufacturer of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. 

While the year has been one with obstacles and opportunities, we will all emerge from the lockdown, together, grateful and humbled. Next year promises to be bright with the liberation from the lockdown and eradication of the virus in sight. 

Every holiday season, we are reminded of another Prometheus—the 1934 gilded bronze sculpture by Paul Manship at the Rockefeller Center in New York City. It has become a seasonal beacon of light above which glitters at the base of the Christmas Tree every winter. The inscription behind the sculpture reads: “Prometheus, teacher in every art, brought the fire that hath proved to mortals a means to mighty ends” celebrating civilization, human achievement, and the promise of the future.

We wish you and your family a very joyful and healthy holiday season with the warmest wishes for 2021 and that our humanity’s flame will shine brighter next year!