Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

As the end of the year draws near, there are two important traditions that many of us hold dear. The first is Christmas.

Christmas has a special meaning for Christians as it represents the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who absolved mankind of their sins by giving up his life.

I have lost count of the number of times that I have been told Christmas was actually a pagan festival adopted by the early Christian church. Perhaps it was but that does not detract from what the spirit of Christmas represents.

For some it is a holy day but even for the non-religious, Christmas unites us all around the values of goodwill, hope and happiness. It is a time when believers and non-believers alike endeavour to reconnect with what is truly important for sustaining the human condition here on Earth: faith, friends and family.

Whether that faith is a belief in God or belief in your fellow man, Christmas is a time to give thanks for what you have and reflect on what many others do not.

Naturally some of the usual suspects do their best to remove any Christian tradition attached to Christmas in the name of ‘non-discrimination’ or ‘tolerance’.

Unfortunately, their message is increasingly heeded by the politically correct. The growth of ‘happy holidays’ messages in the media and in personal communication is testament to that. Readers won’t be surprised that I am steadfast in my resistance to this secularisation of one of our most important annual celebrations.

The second of our festive institutions is the welcoming of the New Year. Just as Christmas is a time of renewal for the soul, the New Year can be a time to reassess what our personal priorities will be for the year ahead.

While statistics will lament the fact that most New Year’s resolutions will not succeed, reflection of what we’d like to improve in our lives is a step in the right direction.

Whether our new resolve is to improve our health, drop a vice or two, work harder (or smarter) or just to simplify our lives, the process of contemplation is important to ensure we glean as much from our individual potential as we possibly can.

My friends and I usually set an individual challenge to complete for the year ahead. Once I gave up coffee for twelve months, a friend stopped eating fast food whilst others have committed to doing regular volunteer work.

We only ever choose one personal challenge each to focus on and whoever lasts the longest is declared the victor. In some primitive way, it satisfies the competitive instinct amongst my group of friends, coupled with making a positive change in our lives or the lives of others.

Thus far I haven’t picked my challenge for the next year but all reader suggestions are welcome!

One thing I have committed to is having a break with my family. That’s why I’ll be signing off from blogs, emails, videos and media for the next couple of weeks. I trust you will get the same opportunity to spend some time with your loved ones.

In closing, may I thank you all for your contribution to my political life over the past year. Your engagement, encouragement and occasional admonitions make my work infinitely more fulfilling.

I’d also like to wish you and your family a peaceful, safe and joyous Christmas and every blessing for 2012.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Confidential Daily.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.