AS WE prepare for the celebration of Christmas, we know this year will bring particular challenges for families trying to cope with the increased cost of living and rising fuel bills. Internationally, many face even more daunting conditions and none more so than the brave people of Ukraine. The cruel war there means that families must cope with life in freezing conditions and the constant danger of attack from a ruthless enemy that seeks to undermine the Christmas message of Peace on Earth and goodwill to all mankind.
At its heart, the Christmas story is about a family subject to harsh law in an occupied country and dependent on the kindness of others for shelter, before fleeing from a cruel dictator. But above all, Christmas is about celebrating a message of hope for a brighter future that overcomes despair, so whatever our individual circumstances, backgrounds, or beliefs, this is the season to care for one another and to embrace the spirit of togetherness, which unites us all.
Across the borough, we have so many wonderful people who give their time and effort to bring cheer to those for whom life is particularly difficult or lonely – and not just at Christmas. Without the fantastic network of our voluntary organisations, life would be so much poorer in Solihull, and they all deserve our support for their work in the community. Whilst we celebrate with friends and family, let us also remember with gratitude the dedicated staff in the public and emergency services, hospitals and care homes who will be working throughout the festivities.
May Christmas be a time of good cheer, companionship and celebration for you and those you love – and may 2023 bring peace, justice and reconciliation for a safer and friendlier world.