George Grubb: Keep to spirit of Christmas

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CHRISTMAs is now a great time of celebration, but it wasn’t always so in Scotland.

As a child I recall my dad working on Christmas Day and, even in the 1950s, the insurance man calling for a payment on Christmas as we sat down to our dinner.

When I was in the army, Christmas was a time when “Jocks” did the duties and the English soldiers went on leave. The “Jocks” went home for New Year.

Later, when I was a padre in the Royal Air Force, Christmas was celebrated on the bases abroad where there were lots of service people either on the bases or in houses in the local towns.

In Cyprus, during the inter-communal fighting, I can remember taking a helicopter trip across the mountains to an orphanage at Kyrenia with boxes of toys and food.

Spare a thought this Christmas for those who are serving away from home, and loved ones in Afghanistan and with the United Nations Peacekeepers.

Remember also that Christmas can be difficult for many people. They may be facing the loss of a loved one, or it may be the first Christmas they face alone.

The message of Christmas is for us all. The cards with the shepherds, the Holy Family, the Wise Men and Christmas scenes remind us we are all on a journey in life and the message of peace, love and help is one we need to hold on to every day.

Have a good and blessed Christmas, live in friendship and remember Edinburgh’s motto from the Book of Psalms, “Except the Lord Build the City, the Builders Toil in Vain”.

• The Rt Hon George Grubb is the Lord Provost of the Edinburgh