This week's Community Column is written by local minister, Rev Ian Miller.

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I DON’T really like January.

Cold, dreich and miserable, it’s my least favourite month, and I’m always glad to see the back of it.

Some find solace during January, however, in the annual celebration of the work of Robert Burns.

I don’t suppose those who witnessed his entry into the world had much notion that more that 250 years later his life would still be celebrated.

His life was brief, entering this world at Alloway on January 25, 1759 and departing from it in the town of Dumfries a mere 37 years later.

So why is it that there is no other figure in secular history whose work is celebrated in such universal fashion?

Maybe it is because Burns wrote about ordinary things. Things we all know and about and can understand – a mountain daisy, a field mouse, a drunk on his way home to a wifely reprimand.

He reflected on the cruelty of life when he realised that the protection that a pathetic wee field mouse had built to shield it from the rigours of winter had just been shattered by his plough.

Who could fail to be touched by the pathos of the words he spoke to the mouse, and those he then uses to consider poignantly the fragility and transience of his own life?

“Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me;

“The present only toucheth thee:

“But, och! I backward cast my e’e on prospects drear.

“An’ forward tho’ I canna see, I guess an’ fear!”

By no stretch of the imagination could you say that Robert’s life was easy. Hardship and poverty were never far away.

He knew what it was to try, and to fail, but he has left us a legacy, and it is right we should honour it.

I can’t help but think that one of the best ways to do that would be to put into practice those ideals of love and brotherhood which he espoused in his poem A Man’s A Man For A’ That.

If 21st century Scotland could give some substance to that vision that would be something worth striving for.