Every year Christians everywhere take heart from the simple and inspiring story of the birth of Jesus which reminds us to be thankful for the many blessings in our lives. For me, that means spending time with Sarah and Isabel and the rest of my family and with friends in the city, including my parents who live near us in Peterborough
As we give thanks for Christ’s message of love and mercy, we are reminded of our responsibility to serve, and of those brave men and women in the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force who serve their country with huge dedication and commitment all year round. We remember also the many Christians who are suffering persecution across the world and those of all faiths suffering under the evil tyranny of Daesh and those poor folk enduring the misery of civil war in Syria.
The last few months have shown a more promising future for Peterborough with fewer jobless people and the city centre better than ever. We have more new businesses and jobs coming the city and more young people are getting into training and employment but we need to make sure working families don’t struggle too much with the cost of living and as the Prime Minster has said, a country that works for everyone.
The challenge of making a success of Britain’s exit from the European Union and forging a new positive global role will dominate next year in politics but it is still a huge privilege to serve Peterborough as its Member of Parliament for almost 12 years and I am proud to have helped hundreds of constituents with their problems since 2005.
For me, I am especially delighted that I will able to play a small but historic role returning the United Kingdom to its place as an independent, confident, sovereign self-governing nation, standing proud again in the world.
Finally, thanks go to all those working on Christmas Day and throughout the year in the voluntary and charity sector in helping those less fortunate than themselves - and to our emergency services on duty on 25th December, including the volunteers at the Salvation Army at Bourges Boulevard serving Christmas Dinner to lucky local elderly folk. A very special thanks too, to Rev Greg Roberts and the volunteers at All Saints Church Park Road for their Night Shelter project - helping local homeless people with a bed and meal this Christmas.
I hope you will be blessed with family and fellowship and I wish all Telegraph readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.