Each Christmas I always hope that I can bring you a message that is both cheery and hopeful, but yet again in 2012 it often seems that the news is unremittingly bad, from the horrors of Connecticut last week to the almost daily tragedies from Syria.
It is no wonder that this Christmas we will all be holding our families a little tighter as we gather for the holiday.
We should reflect that whatever differences we may have we live in an advanced democracy and can settle them by debate and the ballot box.
In Scotland we are living in historic times and I hope that over the next two years, whatever our individual views, we will have real and passionate debate around the type of nation in which we wish to live.
It has also been a difficult year economically with a continuing impact on businesses and families both locally and nationally. There are hopeful signs, but there may still be many bumps ahead. I have, over the year, visited many local businesses, some of whom are doing well in the industries, such as oil and gas, which offer so much for our local economy and which can transfer skills to the new offshore energy industries, offering work for the future.
I and my staff continue to deal with a multitude of individual issues relating to all areas of government - from child support and welfare through to international development. I know very well from my postbag that the people of Angus care passionately about a huge number of issues, both national and local, and are not slow at letting me know their views, many of which I am happy to share with relevant ministers.
Christmas is a time of hope and renewal. Although we will undoubtedly face other difficulties in the coming year, let us believe that we can tackle them and make our country a better place.
I would wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous and, above all, Peaceful New Year.