SAYS Winifred Sloan: “Christmas is an important time of the year that for different people means different things.
‘For some, it is a major event in their religious calendar, a time to celebrate the birth of a child who came into this world in a stable in Bethlehem and made a real difference to the world. In churches across Scotland and the globe, special services will be held to celebrate and give thanks for the birth of baby Jesus.
“For others, Christmas is a time of year when family and friends make a point of getting together to spend time with each other, exchange presents and remember how important they are to each other.
“However, the two things are not exclusive. Nowadays in our multi-cultural society, people follow many different faiths, and although Christmas may not be a significant religious time for them, they still celebrate it. Likewise, those of us who celebrate Christmas as a religious festival can join in the celebrations of other religions at other times of the year.
“Whatever way you choose to celebrate Christmas, I think that we all need to remember those in our local communities who are less fortunate than others. For those who are alone at Christmas, it can be a difficult time, watching others joining together to celebration. I am positive that they would appreciate a visit, an invitation to join in some of the festivities, a card or a simple gift to remind them that someone cares.
“In my thoughts this Christmas will by our brave service men and women who are on active duty in other countries, and their families who will be without them. I will also be thinking of the families whose loved ones have not returned, having paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
“I always feel that Christmas is a time for reflection and for being thankful for what we have. Tinsel, presents and cards are lovely, but there is much more to Christmas.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone in South Ayrshire a very Merry Christmas and a healthy, contended and peaceful 2009.”
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