Minister reflects on tragic fire at Cameron House Hotel

Rev Ian Miller who lives near the Cameron House Hotel where two people died in a fire on Monday has been offering support to the staff, visitors and local people affected by the tragedy.

Cross at  Luss Parish Church

Mr Miller, who was the minister at nearby Bonhill Parish Church for 37 years before his retirement in 2012, has written the following reflection for all the local people affected. Sunday services at Arrochar Parish Church (10am) and Luss Parish Church (11:45am) will remember all those who are grieving and hurt.

"In the aftermath of the tragedy of Cameron House I have been immensely impressed by how the staff, police, ambulance, fire services and other support agencies came together. How Duck Bay and other companies and individuals offered practical help and support. A community at its very best.

"I was also impressed by those who had survived , some realising how it could all have been so very different. Many left with virtually nothing. Some sat in their bathrobes, babies slept peacefully in their mother’s arms unaware of what might have been. Even at that moment the thoughts of many were turning to the friends and families of those two young men who lost their lives. For them Christmas will never be the same again. Sometimes tragic events like this may cause us to ponder about what is important in life. It is seldom material.

"The first Christmas story has the same message. A child born in a stable, a child for whom there was no room. His first cradle was a cattle trough. Some of the finest Christmas celebrations this year will not be in the elegant mansions of this world…. They will be in hovels in Latin America, in thatched huts in Central Africa, in the slums of Manila. Many of the deprived and outcast of this world identify in a special way with the Christ who started life in the poorest of situations. For he too was born in a little town. Not in Jerusalem not in Rome but in Bethlehem.

"I wonder what that family huddled in a crude stable, would think if they knew that the birth of their child would become an excuse for a garish display of materialistic indulgence in our world today. In a world dominated by the pursuit of pleasure and the accumulation of wealth, we need the reminder of the Christmas story that the truly important things in life bear no price tags.

"Maybe Christmas should be a reminder to us that the greatest gifts are not material. It is never the size of the gift that matters, but the love behind the gift. Sometimes, simply the act of showing someone that they matter is sufficient. I hope and pray that those caught up in the tragedy, the bereaved, the traumatised, indeed the staff at Cameron House may know that our hearts go out in love to them at this sad time."