To each of you who have helped make this journey complete. I wouldn't be writing this today without your support and love. "We are not alone," and this I am reminded of every hour of every day. When I look back at this Christmas I'll do so with very particular images and faces in mind - especially the women and children I photographed in northern Nigeria at the end of November 2017. They will remind me of what Christmas is about, of giving and not asking for much in return except love and acceptance and the chance to live and laugh, and to care for one another. All other gifts seem superficial when compared to these.

I will also be reminded of the Christmas story recorded in the book of Luke in the New Testament, of a woman who stood up to the rules and oppressions of her time, and accepted her role with grace and joy. "My soul glorifies the Lord," she said, "and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on, all generations will call me blessed." (Luke 1:46-48)

This is the Christmas message I would hope to share, today and throughout the coming year - that we are blessed and that our lives matter for something good. In accepting this and living it in our lives and how we view the world and treat others, we will be recipients of the greatest gift of all.

Lee Cantelon
Gandhi Path West, Jaipur, Rajasthan, December 22, 2017