Queen Elizabeth II emphasized in her annual Christmas message broadcast this year that the message of Christ of “peace on earth and good will towards all” is “never out of date” and is “needed as much as ever.”
“The Christmas story retains its appeal since it doesn’t contain theoretical explanations for the puzzles of life,” said the 92-year-old monarch of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth countries. “Instead, it is about the birth of a child and the hope that birth 2,000 years ago brought to the world. Only a few acknowledge Jesus when he was born, now billions follow him.”
The annual broadcast has become a traditional part of Christmas Day since she started her reign as the Queen in 1952. She has used it as an opportunity to express her personal thoughts with the people in the UK and across the Commonwealth.
As this year marks the one hundredth anniversaries of the armistice that ended World War I, signed by the allies and Germany, and the founding of the Royal Air Force, the Queen highlighted the timeliness of Anglican priest Eric Milner White, who introduced the service of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King’s College in Cambridge just weeks after the armistice.
“Listened by millions of people around the world, it starts with the choristers singing the first verse, ‘Once in royal David city,’ she said. “He wanted a new kind of service, which with its message of peace and goodwill spoke to the needs of the time.”
Queen Elizabeth expressed her gratitude to all those in the armed services and brought to the open how at Christmas, “We become keenly aware of loved ones who have died, whatever the circumstances. And of course, we would not grieve if we have not loved.”
This year, the Royal Family had a series of joyful events, which included two weddings – that of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank – and the third royal baby news of the expectant Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton.
“Two weddings and two babies and another child expecting soon. It helps to keep a grandmother well-occupied,” she noted with satisfaction. “We have had other celebrations too, including the 70th birthday of the Prince of Wales.”
The Queen then warns of human being’s “propensity for good” yet a “capacity for evil.”
“Even the power of faith, which frequently inspires great generosity and self-sacrifice can fall victim to tribalism,” she said.
Through the changes that she has seen over the years, the British monarch said she has found personal comfort and reassurance from faith, family, and friendship that has remained a constant.
In April, the heads of Commonwealth government met in London, Queen Elizabeth said her father welcomed just 8 such countries to such meetings in 1948. Now, the Commonwealth countries include 53 countries with 2.4 billion people, a third of the world’s population.
“Its strength lies in the bonds of affection that it promotes and a common desire to live in a better, more peaceful world,” she said. “Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect, as a fellowship being is always a good first step towards greater understanding.
The Queen exhorts everyone that Christ’s message “can be heeded” by all, and ends her broadcast wishing all a very happy Christmas.