CHRISTMAS is a special, wonderful time of year. It is perhaps one time in our busy lives when millions of people across the planet put their own concerns aside, even if only briefly, and consider others.

They give of themselves, the precious, important gifts of time, and of money, to send cards, give presents, make time for family, friends and even occasionally strangers too, as they wish one other peace, good will to all.

In doing this they take their thoughts away from themselves and focus on others, which is a great recipe for healthy living.

When any of us have experienced God’s unconditional love, visible in such a powerful way in the nativity image of a baby born in a stable, then we feel a real sense of wanting to share God’s love with other people.

This is done through acts of goodness, often just small deeds of kindness, a polite word, a helping hand, chatting to someone who is feeling lonely, any little help along the path of life’s journey.

In the Bible one man wrote “Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.”

God must be so pleased, not just at Christmas but throughout the year, when He sees folk loving others in these types of ways. There’s a lot to be said for sincere acts and words of love to others.

So Christmas is a special, wonderful time of year. Do enjoy all the blessings of this season of love.

Reverend Canon John Harkin, Vicar, St Marys Andover Area Dean Andover Deanery