Whilst it may appear, this year, that good cheer and the Christmas spirit are hard to find (or completely absent), every year presents its own particular challenges to the desire for a peaceful holiday.

It may be thought to be myopic or blinkered to seek out the positives in the world today, but how else are we going to see a light at the end of the tunnel, a glimmer of hope in the darkness that seems to surround us? We must, without ignoring the evil around us, try and hold a light for those who are suffering and those who lack hope in the future.

What are the hopeful signs that we can reflect? At the risk of sounding glib, surely the human spirit of those that are suffering so much in Ukraine, the Middle East, Myanmar and in Eastern Africa (to name but a few) is evidence enough of the hope that springs eternal. The strength of purpose of those seeking to free themselves from oppression (in Hong Kong and Iran, to name but two) is emblematic of the struggle against the dark and for the light.

I am an inveterate optimist. I am not so much a “glass half full” type of person, I am a believer in a well-spring continually filling the glass. In the case of humanity, that is a well-spring of decency, honesty, charity and kindness. It is not universal, but looking out for and after others is hard-wired into human nature; it just suffers from mutations in some and attacks from the cancer of evil in others. These can be treated.

Yes, appalling people do appalling things; “bad” people still seem to coalesce around each other and usurp control over others; but, good people form the majority and inevitably triumph.

In short, adversity is its own example. Currently, to see human nature in all its glory, it seems that we have to view it against a backdrop of suffering. Let’s hope that in 2024, we do not need to view the human spirit in contrast to anything but in its own right.

I hope that you and those close to you have a peaceful and joyful Christmas and are able to look forward to the New Year with positivity and strength of purpose. It is up to each and every one of us to carry the light of hope for a better future into that future, and the future starts … now!

As usual, at this time of year, I have made a donation to St Vincent’s Hospice. If you would like to support the invaluable  work of the hospice movement, you can follow the link to their donation page.