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Here’s a special Doune.co Thought of the Month for the Festive Season.  Merry Christmas Everyone!

I don’t normally say Grace when I eat, and don’t eat with many others who do.  But this Christmas, I just might.
It’s been a busy old year around the world and as we settle in to our festive glug and Christmas dinners in the wonderful and peaceful villages of Doune and Deanston, I for one will be sparing a thought, and a wee prayer, for those less fortunate.
We live in a great community, in a beautiful country.  And generally speaking, everyone seems to have their bases covered and to be living in a very comfortable way.  But prosperity doesn’t bring peace and happiness.  
For all those folk among us who are not well, who have lost loved ones this year, and are not with the people they hold nearest and dearest, let’s hope that something positive brings a smile to your face this Christmas and that 2014 can be a fresh start and a positive year.
It can be argued that no matter how bad things are, they could always be worse.  I’m thinking here of the people around the world suffering because of war.  The Syrian conflict will be two years old in March.  Over 100,000 have died including many civilians and well over two million refugees will be spending this Christmas destitute, cold and hungry.  Let’s hope world leaders and those directly involved in the fighting can see sense and bring about an end to this horrific war.  
We can also spare a thought for the 12 million people in the Philippines who remain in urgent need of help following the typhoon that cut a swath of destruction through their land, destroying homes, wrecking people’s jobs and businesses, and leaving over 5,000 dead and countless injured.  Hopefully, 2014 can be a year of rebuilding homes and lives for our distant friends.
It’s difficult to grasp that one minute, all might be ok, and then the next minute, one’s world can lay in pieces around you.  This must be how it seemed for the bereaved families of those who died in the Clutha bar in Glasgow recently when a helicopter inexplicably crashed through the roof.  No doubt, this Christmas will be a particularly tough time.
But amidst all the hardship and heartache that plagues our world we shouldn’t lose sight of all the wonderful things that happen.  The new life that each year brings, gurgles of glee and the warmth of love; the selfless acts of kindness that go unnoticed, unheralded, but deeply appreciated; the laughter that separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom; and the fact that more people live in peace in our world than in war.
So as we rightly take time off work and school this Christmas and unwind from the stresses and strains of our ordinary lives, let’s appreciate the wonderful place where we live and the people we share it with.  
Best wishes to everyone, near and far, and let’s hope 2014 is a good one!

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