Hayes in the House: By MP John Hayes
What will be our impression of 2017 as it joins the pages of history? Certainly, the last year has witnessed its share of tragedy.
The consequences of the appalling fire at Grenfell Tower will be felt for many years. The terror attacks in London, Manchester and elsewhere provided stark reminders of the danger of our times, and fresh impetus to rid ourselves of the menace of Islamist extremism.
British servicemen have been killed in action overseas once again this year in the defence of that which we hold dear, and they deserve our gratitude and admiration for their willingness to make great sacrifices on our behalf.
We should all – at this time of year so closely associated with the family – reflect on those whose lives have been damaged by war and terror.
In the face of such challenges, however, we so often see the very best of Britain. In adversity, we find courage; in sorrow, we find strength.
Those virtues have their foundations in that which is constant in our lives: love for our families, the worth of work and, more widely, our sense of belonging to communities and duty to our country, nourishing the desire to good for others.
All this is personified by Her Majesty The Queen, whose service to the nation surely inspires us each and every year.
Most of all, as we look forward to 2018, our resolve comes from our indomitable sense of hope. It is the bedrock which compels us not to settle for the world as it is, but to strive to remake it as it ought to be.
There is no pre-ordained course of history – no script written for us – so the years to come will be what we make them. This is much more than mere wishful thinking, rather it is the impulse which tells us that promise awaits if only we have the focus and fearlessness to make it true.
With hope, we can look forward confidently to the year before us. We cannot know exactly what the next 12 months will bring, but we can be certain that an escape from socially corrosive cynicism provided by faith-filled hopefulness best equips us to meet the challenges which lay ahead.
Whether it is the Government dealing with Brexit negotiations, or individuals making life and career choices, a courageous belief in the motivating power of hope is the surest path to a brighter tomorrow.