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Rev Dr Roderick Campbell, Moderator of the Presbytery of Argyll
The Christmas season means many things to different people. For myself, it has two principal components.
The first is light. Most societies had and have a celebration of light at the darkest time of the year. It is a pattern followed by most of the world’s great religions.
The religious reference is not only to the physical darkness of the sun being below the equator, but also the psychological darkness caused by uncertainty, loss, suffering of the body or the mind, broken relationships and the brokenness of many lives.
By allowing the light of Christ to shine into our lives and bring comfort, guidance, courage, strength, we can change direction, start again and have cause for celebration.
The second aspect is of birth. It really does not matter where or when Jesus was born. As Paul writes: ‘Jesus was born of a woman’, as we all were. The birth of a child, the gift of life, with all the potential each child has to become fully themselves.
Jesus’s birth was no more or no less important to Mary and to
Joseph than the birth of our own children is to us.
This time of year gives us the opportunity to celebrate life and perhaps, as the years pass and we look back, to reflect on how we have used our gifts and talents.
Is the world a better place because I/we have walked this way? Is the world a better place because the Christ has walked this way?
If you are together as family, be happy together. Life is too valuable to spoil a celebration. If you are alone, I trust there are folk around you who will share with you.
Whoever you are, may the light and the love of Christ’s coming bless you as you journey.
Police Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren
As divisional commander, I sincerely hope this very special time of year is one that is fun-filled, enjoyed by all, and everyone is kept safe.
It’s also a time for reflection. For my own part, I’m amazed at how quickly the year has passed. 2018 has been a satisfying year as our strong local partnerships with our local authorities and other service providers have been built on to ensure close collaboration as problems arose.
This approach delivered on our shared priorities to enhance the lives of individuals in need of our support, and continued to nurture a safe and thriving environment for individual and community wellbeing.
We have faced several significant challenges, not least the ‘Beast from the East’ extreme winter that caused such disruption across the country.
During this Year of Young People, I am proud that the division has continued to lead the way in Police Scotland in our innovative deployment of Youth Engagement Officers. Their interactions with young people make many positive interventions in their lives. We’ve also continued to grow the number of our teams of active and enthusiastic Police Scotland Youth Volunteers.
Police Scotland’s festive campaign provides useful advice regarding protecting you your home and property, and safety advice for shopping and using ATMs. Please check this on our social media pages.
I hope you all enjoy the New Year and I encourage all to take care throughout the festive period.
Councillor Aileen Morton, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council
I am very glad to have the opportunity to wish everyone across Argyll and Bute all the very best for this festive season. Argyll is stunning in the summer months when the sun shines but even as the nights get longer and the days colder there is still so much to enjoy from our glittering winter landscapes to the warmth of our many whiskies.
When I look back over the past 12 months at life in Argyll and Bute, there is one thing that really stands out – the tremendous sense of community spirit, pride and positivity that’s sweeping through our communities of late.
We have our challenges to face – that’s inescapable. But over the past year in particular I’ve been so encouraged to see the determination of local people to rise above those challenges and make sure that local life is as vibrant and successful as possible. We’re all spreading the word that Argyll and Bute really is a great place to live, work, visit and do business – all year round.
Wherever you are in Argyll and Bute, I hope you enjoy the festive season and that 2019 brings you what you need. A Happy New Year to you all.
Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute
May I begin by wishing each of you a peaceful New Year.
I think it is important that we take a bit of time out of time to appreciate what we have but also to think of those less fortunate than ourselves and if possible, resolve to do something that will make a difference to someone’s life this festive season.
Shamefully, despite the United Kingdom being the sixth largest economy in the world, more and more of our friends, neighbours and colleagues here in Argyll and Bute will have to rely on food banks and charities to get them through the season.
It beggars belief that in 2018, increasing numbers of mums, dads, children, pensioners, those in low-paid work, people seeking work, those living with mental health issues or a disability, have gone hungry and more and more children had nothing to unwrap on Christmas morning.
And without the generosity of the people of Argyll and Bute and the wonderful work being done by an army of volunteers, the situation would be so much worse. And each of us owes these volunteers a huge thank you for the work they do.
So please, if you can afford it, please donate a little something extra to your local food bank this week.
As my dad would often say: ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’
Michael Russell, MSP for Argyll and Bute
Living as we are through the most difficult and disturbing of times it is important for all of us – and especially politicians – to realise that there are more important things than partisan headlines, parliamentary debates and public disagreements.
Family, health, the company of friends, our homes and the wonderful environment of Argyll and Bute that we are lucky enough to live in are all things which we should treasure and celebrate. Those who lack them or who through illness or loneliness or despair cannot, for a time, appreciate them need our special thoughts particularly during the festive season.
As your local MSP, working alongside my constituency staff, I have tried to help all of those who have contacted me during the year for whatever reason. That is my first duty and I am glad to do it. We won’t always agree on everything but we can agree, I am sure, that by showing solidarity, mutual support and kindness we can find the best way to live together here in Argyll and Bute, in Scotland, across these islands, in Europe and globally.
We cannot know what lies ahead and the uncertainty of Brexit casts a long shadow locally and nationally at present. But this is a time to be hopeful so with hope in my heart for Argyll and Bute and our country I am delighted to wish everyone in the constituency and beyond a great and very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.
Councillor Len Scoullar, Provost of Argyll and Bute
It’s always lovely to feel and see things changing as Christmas gets closer – even if some might say the whole festive season gets started a little too early these days.
Argyll and Bute looks festive and colourful, and a lot of credit must go to the community groups who take such great pride in putting on festive events and leading the charge when it comes to Christmas lights and decorations in their towns. It all helps to add to the feeling that Christmas is a joyous time that should be filled with family, friends, fun and festivities.
Christmas means a lot of different things to different people, and I hope that whatever is most important to you this festive season plays a big part in your celebrations.
And once Christmas has come and gone, the New Year allows us all the chance to look forward to the next 12 months.
I would encourage everyone to take a moment to think about those in our communities who may not find this time of year as much fun as others, for whatever reason.
Happy New Year to you all.