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From the editor's desk 22 December

The War Cry comments on having a bad year

Christmas is a great time for many people, but not for everybody

IT was back in 1973 that the rock group Slade first asked: ‘Are you hanging up a stocking on your wall?’ as their song ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ became the year’s Christmas No 1.

In the four and a half decades since then, the song has been played countless times at parties, in shops and on the radio, reminding us all that it’s Christmas and that ‘everybody’s having fun’.

Although the truth is, they’re probably not. Christmas is a great time for many people, but not for everybody. For some, it will just mark the end of a bad year.

Each year, Oxford Dictionaries selects a word that reflects the ‘preoccupations of the passing year’. As we report in this week’s War Cry, the word for 2018, based on the number of times it has been looked up online, is ‘toxic’.

For too many people, 2018 has been a toxic year – whether because of events in the public sphere or within their own lives. And sometimes not even the festivities of Christmas can switch off the difficulties, worries or misery that people are experiencing.

Last week it was reported that over the festive period the Samaritans expect to receive even more than the 400,000 calls that were made to their telephone helpline last December.

Christmas is a busy time for other charities too. Salvation Army centres across the country will serve Christmas Day meals, providing good food and good company to people who would otherwise be alone.

It’s encouraging to know that, should we find ourselves in difficult situations or feeling lonely and isolated, there are people and organisations who can give us help and support, whatever toxic problem is affecting our lives.

And it is even better to know that they are not only there at Christmastime, but throughout the year.

The War Cry

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