Today being Christmas Eve a day that is special to me as I spent a period of younger life in Germany and I still celebrate this special day like many from Europe that celebrate Christmas Eve. Today I was planning to post a book review but I thought it would be a good opportunity to replace this with a personal Christmas message instead.
Many will be gathering with family and friends over the Christmas period to celebrate the festivities in a spirit of happiness and joy. Our lives seem to be getting busier and busier many do not get the chance to get together during the year. I will be with family and also friends but I will be thinking of those who are less fortunate and will be spending Christmas on the streets or alone. As a nation that is the 6th richest on the planet why we allow the homeless situation to be getting worse year on year despite what government ministers tell us. Families are struggling to feed their children in my local area I have read a report recently that 900 children needed emergency food handouts. This is the sort of thing we may read in a Charles Dickens novel not 2017 Great Britain. Then we also see the NHS under the most severe pressure with nurses and doctors working flat out over the Christmas period some working without a break.
Over the course of this year I have been handing out books to homeless people in my local area just trying to provide some comfort as for many they will not have access to books. I have also taken time to listen to their stories and some have been so heart-breaking and I have been on more than one occasion moved to tears. Any one of these people living on the streets could be us. It could happen that easily. I will be doing the same again in 2018 and just trying to spread the joy of books and reading to those in need of some comfort. But that is not all I have been doing this year. Many of you will know of the recent death threats I have received. There have been a number. While investigations are still ongoing I can say very little. But it is being treated seriously. Waking in the small hours to find a police car sat outside your house is a worrying moment and having previously been in a position when I had to fight for my life after been stabbed this was a deeply troubling time and brought back too many bad memories. But saying that I will not ever shy away from supporting those that need our help. I was close to closing down all my social media accounts and very nearly did. But it was a telephone call from a ‘supporter’ who told me that that is indeed what they wanted me to do and they would win. I am still here and will remain so. I do not give into to threats.
During this time, I was moved by the messages of support I received on Twitter but also away from social media. To each of you and you know who you are, I can honestly say that you will never know just how much your love and support at that time helped me. You all are just amazing which is why I wanted to post this Christmas Message. Friendship in times of need is something we all need but also we need hope and that is what this message is primarily about. Hope for the future. During Christmas we see love is all around us, whether that is a message in a Christmas Card or a hug from friends while we share a drink or two. If we as people can do this at Christmas, why can’t we share this love through the rest of the year. Despite all the pressures we face in our ever busier lives surely we can give a little love to each other. Love can build bridges and also give hope to those that are indeed less fortunate and also to those who are alone and afraid.
Between Christmas and the New Year, I will be sharing my list of my books of 2017. I am looking forward to sharing this with you all. I receive through the year so many amazing books from publishers and writers and I am so very grateful for your trust. It is just impossible to read every book that arrives. I would need many more months to read through them. Already 2018 looks like being another incredible year for books and I have read two books coming out in January that I know you will love and I have no doubt they will feature heavily in a year’s time as a review of the year.
My hope for each and every one of you that reads this message is that you find happiness and joy this Christmas whether you choose to celebrate with family or friends or you are spending time alone. Many indeed do not celebrate Christmas for personal or religious beliefs, that is ok. Love is still there. We all just need to show a little bit more to each other regardless of who we are. Please take a little moment during your celebrations to think of those keeping us safe and to those working in the NHS working long hours looking after us but also those living on the streets this Christmas.
Thank you for all you kind support through this year.
From me to all of you and yours
A Very Happy and Peaceful Christmas.
The Last Word Book Review.