A very Merry Christmas to all Gazette readers!
Opinions will vary as to whether 2016 has been a year to cherish or to forget. Both nationally and internationally, we have had 12 months of dramatic, indeed wrenching, change.
We have had moments of astonishment, with the Olympics, with Tim Peake's voyage into space, and Planet Earth 2 from the evergreen David Attenborough. And we have had scenes of utter horror, most recently from Syria.
One effect of 24 hour news is to make these moments incredibly vivid and memorable; and since national media organisations tend to focus on the negative, that is much of what we see.
But more than ever now it is vital to keep a sense of perspective. Yes, all is not easy. But we are living in a marvellous county, in a marvellous country, at a time when more people are living longer and more healthily than at any time in history.
Exactly 180 years ago, Nathan Mayer Rothschild was the world's richest man. Yet he died of an infected abscess in 1836 at the age of 58, and there was nothing all his money and doctors could do to save him.
Today that infection would be readily cured at very low cost by the miracle of antibiotics, and the average life expectancy in this country is over 81 years old. And technology and trade are working similar miracles the world over.
It is something to ponder, and remember. amid all the bad news stories. But as we gather with our friends and family to celebrate Christmas let’s also spare a thought for all those in the public services here in Ross who are working over the holiday period--and for the immense contribution made by our local servicemen and women overseas.
Here's hoping you have a happy, safe, warm and festive holiday, and a joyous New Year.