THIS week's community column comes from Rev Christine Murdoch, minister at the Lochside Churches in Craigrownie, Rosneath and Garelochhead.

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I MAKE no apology for beginning my final Advertiser column of the year with words I shared with you last Christmas:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

“He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and without Him not one thing came into being.

“What has come into being in Him was life, and the life was the light of all people.

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

These words come from the Gospel of John and I will read them in the very early minutes of Christmas Day.

Not, sadly, in Church, but rather, in my own home, where I will be leading worship at our Watchnight service on Zoom.

In the last two years we have become very adaptable, both to changing Covid-19 restrictions and how to live with them, while staying in contact with those we love.

Over the forthcoming Christmas weekend, I will certainly be using technology to be in touch with family and friends that I cannot visit at this time.

Yes, it seems as if Christmas will be different this year, again. Yet a different Christmas can remind us what is important about Christmas.

Christians are celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Yet we are all celebrating the gift of love that we share with family and friends – and that is hard to do when we are still asked to be socially distanced.

Yet a light still shines in this darkness this Christmas. And I believe I am being challenged to find new ways to share that light and to let it shine through my actions.

One way I can do that is by standing in solidarity with my brothers and sisters around the world.

Afghanistan hit the headlines around the world earlier this year. And it is in the headlines once again now. For the people of Afghanistan are facing starvation. Twenty-two million people face acute hunger; more than eight million are on the brink of famine. With snow falling in Kabul, and the cold about to set in to block off supply routes, aid workers believe the window of opportunity to save lives is narrowing, quickly and significantly.

The Disasters Emergency Committee, in partnership with 15 other charities, has launched an appeal for financial help.

The UK government has also pledged to match pound-for-pound the first £10 million donated by the public to this appeal.

Every little helps. You can donate to the appeal at or through many other charities. By supporting this appeal, we can bring a little light into a very dark place.

May God bless you with peace this Christmas.