AS December 25 dawns, the whole team at the Advertiser would like to wish you a very happy Christmas.

But we'd also like to ask you to spare a thought for those for whom the celebrations, festivities and merriment are a world away from a much more painful reality.

The chaplain at my primary school made a point of asking me and my fellow pupils to do just that every December. In the past week-and-a-bit we have covered more than one story focussing on those who find Christmas particularly difficult.

One was our focus on the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, and the remarkable work of its volunteers in helping people for whom this time of year is even more of a struggle than usual.

READ MORE: Behind the scenes at Helensburgh's food bank as its volunteers gear up for Christmas

The other was the tragic death two weekends ago of little Eliza Woods, who passed away suddenly on December 14 after taking ill at her family's home in Rhu.

I didn’t know Eliza, or her parents Mike and Jodie, or her brother and sisters. And while I do have family and close friends with young children, I am not a parent, so I can’t write this with any kind of empathy. Nor can I begin to imagine the pain and distress Eliza’s family are going through this Christmas.

The family uploaded an incredibly brave video to YouTube in which Mike urged parents to be alert for the signs of sepsis, the cause of Eliza’s death, and thanked the public for their support.

And that support – shown by the fact that an online fund-raiser to help the family has now brought in more than £10,000 in donations – clearly shows that people don’t need to be told to spare a thought for those less fortunate, whether at Christmas or any other time of the year.

READ MORE: Eliza Woods' family shares heartbreaking video plea after two-year-old toddler's tragic death from sepsis

It's evident in the Christmas story of the Helensburgh and Lomond Foodbank, too. Just the other day we published the story of Helensburgh lad Rhylan McCallum, who celebrated his birthday earlier this month, and who asked his family and friends to donate items to the food bank instead of giving him a birthday present.

Those kinds of community support is not a show of Christmas spirit, but a simple demonstration of the best of humanity.

You don’t have to search the internet for very long these days to find examples of man’s inhumanity to man, through words as well as actions. But nor do you have to do much Googling to read about people at their best, doing what they can, however little that might be, to help those who are going through hard times.

READ MORE: Helensburgh youngster gives birthday gift to Helensburgh's food bank

So: have a happy Christmas, if you can. And if your Christmas is not touched by sadness, please do spare a thought, say a prayer, give some money or some time, or just be a listening ear, for those not so fortunate. Whatever you do, it will be appreciated by someone.

READ MORE: Click here for all the latest news from around Helensburgh and Lomond