As another Christmas fast approaches and many of us begin to wind down from our hectic lives ready to spend precious time with our family and friends, let’s give a thought for those not in such a fortunate position. Those who may be alone this Christmas, those who are grieving, those battling health conditions, both physical and mental, those with financial worries and all those who will be working over the festive period, including members of the Armed Forces and our fantastic NHS workers.
Whilst, thankfully, with so many now vaccinated, Covid was much less of a problem in 2022 than it had been in the previous two years, 2022 has certainly not been without its challenges.
When Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine, it devastated us all. Back in July, I showed my support for the people of Ukraine when I paid a visit to Kyiv, Lviv, Irpin and Bucha. I saw damaged buildings, factories and infrastructure such as roads and rail bridges and met with victims who lost their homes and loved ones and are now separated from their families. It was heart breaking to witness the pain and suffering Russia’s leader has inflicted on this country.
However, at the same time, it has also been heart-warming to see the way in which people have rallied to help these poor people, with churches, organisations, schools and individuals all going above and beyond to ensure refugees have shelter, food and clothing. The suffering continues in Ukraine, and this Christmas I encourage you all to ensure they are in your thoughts and prayers.
September saw the death of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II, an outstanding monarch who served our country with great dignity and energy for longer than any of her predecessors. Her death left a huge hole in my heart and the hearts of many, and Christmas Day will not be quite the same without her address to the nation - although I look forward to hearing King Charles III’s first Christmas speech.
Christmas may be difficult for some this year because of the cost-of-living crisis, but it is important for us all to remember that lavish gifts and copious amounts of food are not what makes Christmas special. It’s about spending quality time with our loved ones, supporting those less fortunate than ourselves, and appreciating all that we do have.
May the joy and peace of Christmas be with you all throughout the Year – Nadolig llawen a blwyddyn newydd dda