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'Let's make the faith, family, and fellowship of Christmas last all year long,' says Spalding-area MP

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In his weekly Hayes in the House column, MP Sir John Hayes has a Christmas message for his constituents.

All of us have endured challenges over the last two years as the nation has coped with disturbance and distress resulting from the unprecedented circumstances with which we continue to live.

Through the difficulties, everyday acts of kindness and care – an offer to collect shopping, a distanced chat - have given many the strength to carry on.

MP Sir John Hayes (53914526)
MP Sir John Hayes (53914526)

Such gestures of compassion are glimmering lights shining brightly on the darkest days.

The season is unique in our calendar, as Christmas compassion illuminates lives. Through the hope inspired by Christian teaching we are reassuringly enveloped in the spirit which typifies this special time of year.

Charles Dickens’ timeless prose in ‘A Christmas Carol’ captured the existential joy which inspires humanity during the Christmas season:

“I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time…as a good time, a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time… the only time when men and women seem by one consent to open up their shut-up hearts freely”. Says Ebenezer Scrooge’s nephew Fred as he explains why he has felt compelled to visit his uncle and wish him a merry Christmas despite Scrooge’s unfriendliness. This spirit did not emerge out of the ether, it is borne from a tale of wonderous grace exemplified in the relationship between God and man as told through Christ’s birth.

Too often nowadays this miraculous story is regarded as merely a folk tale, yet without it we risk relegating the Christmas spirit to nothing more than the exchange of worldly goods. Instead, we must honour the root of our Christian heritage and, through it, inspire a renewed, enriching love of all.

Christmas is a time for faith, family, and fellowship. While one may exist without the others, it is this trinity which epitomises the seasonal mood in ways both grand and modest. A mood found in home and hearth, as innumerable family gatherings reaffirm the most important bonds of all.

The sadness of Christmas is that this triumph of empathetic selflessness too rarely stretches beyond December – perhaps a silver lining to the dark cloud of Covid has been the humbling reminder that those who work in our health services exercise just such year-round care, both as a matter of personal vocation and professional duty. May I take this opportunity to thank them on behalf of all of my constituents. The good news of God’s love and the message of Christ’s birth should be carried throughout the entire year, spreading tidings of faith, hope and charity to those who suffer from want or pain.

By these means, a consciousness to elevate those less favoured can counter the selfish materialism and lonely individualism that pervade too much of modern life.

I, like so many of you, will find peace in the power of small acts of everyday kindness to which the Christmas spirit gives life.

Reflecting on just how fortunate we are – at this difficult time for our country – to enjoy moments of merriment, may Christmas inspire us to spread its spirit throughout the coming year.

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