The best present to give - our time

Speaker's CornerSpeaker's Corner
Speaker's Corner
It's everybody's favourite time of the year '“ Christmas, and Werrington First councillors extend a wish for everyone to have a Merry Christmas and a Peaceful New Year, write Werrington First Cllrs Steve Lane, John Fox and Judy Fox.

The Christmas period is a celebration of peace and goodwill, and a traditional time for giving and sharing.

We are reminded of this throughout December by cards in the post, the twinkle of fairylights on trees and in windows, along with the hustle and bustle of shopping expeditions. And as the day arrives, we see the gifts under the tree and the stockings that hang in living rooms, waiting to be filled. There is the smell in the Christmas kitchen and the promise of turkey dinners, pudding and mince pies, and the clink of bottles and glass meaning the drinks cupboard is well-stocked.

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In the 21st century, many will think that Christmas has become too commercialised, with too much emphasis on how to beat the marvel of last year’s present, and to make every effort in creating a better feast than ever before. Yes, this will be the best Christmas ever and yes, this can be a season of great joy. But is that the true meaning of Christmas? True, it is the time of year when we smile and say ‘Merry Christmas’ to everyone we meet, be that in the home with the family, at work with friends and colleagues, or in town with the shop assistant helping with your purchase. It’s a time to enjoy both the giving and receiving of presents through the magic of Santa or from our nearest and dearest; and when most of us have a day off work and join with eating, drinking and being merry and generally having a happy holiday. But when all is said and done, is the time to party all that we can hope for?

Let us remember that for many people, it can be just the opposite and will be a time of sorrow. They will not see their loved ones come home for a number of different reasons, and there are some who just cannot afford the extra money to buy the presents for their children. Others may be down on their luck, or have struggled to make the most of their life chances. Merriment will be a forlorn hope, and only a dream, for them.

All the year round, Peterborough is blessed with people and organisations, across many faiths, who do remember those less fortunate. There are volunteers who continue to give all their spare time to help improve the lives of others, for which we are extremely grateful. In the run up to this festive period there have been community groups and churches putting events together to make this a special time for many. But alongside this, can we urge everyone to firstly, spend time with our family, friends and neighbours, and then, whenever possible, remember those who may need our goodwill and support.

It is so easy to forget what the true meaning should be for Christmas, and to lose that sense of compassion to help anyone that has less.

It will be such a difficult time for those who are lonely, that surely there can be no better gift to give anyone – than our time.

It costs nothing, but means such a lot.