2017 has been a difficult year in a number of ways but Christmas time is always a time for hope.
Internationally, wars in the Middle East and Africa continue interminably, with all the anguish pain injuries and death to millions of innocent children women and men that they involve.
The elected President of the USA seems unlikely to be much of peacemaker either in the Middle East or as regards North Korea, which is led by an individual who appears extreme but hugely immature. Many of North Korea's peoples have to go hungry so that the money that might be used to feed them can instead be applied to developing nuclear rockets to threaten the rest of the world.
Then natural disasters such as the storms yesterday and today in the Philippines, in which hundreds have died; global warming (probably man made rather than natural) and the dying almost to extinction of a number of animals birds and amphibians can all give a bleak appearance to life on earth at present.
Nationally Brexit continues to cause arguments often heated but they will in my view fade.
Personally, the great sadness is of the deaths of the brother in law of Mrs Maytrees in April and of his widow her little sister - age hardly 50 - two days ago in Ireland. May they R.I.P.
And yet... Today is the 4th Sunday of Advent with tomorrow being Christmas day, on which is celebrated the world over, the birth of mankind's saviour over 2000 years ago. The recollection and celebration of Christ's birth gives reasons for optimism and joy.
2018 will surely be a year to celebrate and live to the full.
Happy Christmas to all who chance upon this blog at this time.