QUEEN ELIZABETH II

The Queen’s Christmas Message for 2013

When families and friends come together at Christmas, it's often a time for happy memories and reminiscing...

  • Dec. 25, 2013 6:00 a.m.

From the Queen:

“I once knew someone who spent a year in a plaster cast recovering from an operation on his back. He read a lot, and thought a lot, and felt miserable.

“Later, he realised this time of forced retreat from the world had helped him to understand the world more clearly.

“We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock. Be it through contemplation, prayer, or even keeping a diary, many have found the practice of quiet personal reflection surprisingly rewarding, even discovering greater spiritual depth to their lives.

“Reflection can take many forms. When families and friends come together at Christmas, it’s often a time for happy memories and reminiscing. Our thoughts are with those we have loved who are no longer with us. We also remember those who through doing their duty cannot be at home for Christmas, such as workers in essential or emergency services.

“And especially at this time of year we think of the men and women serving overseas in our armed forces. We are forever grateful to all those who put themselves at risk to keep us safe.

“Service and duty are not just the guiding principles of yesteryear; they have an enduring value which spans the generations.

“I myself had cause to reflect this year, at Westminster Abbey, on my own pledge of service made in that great church on Coronation Day 60 years earlier.

“The anniversary reminded me of the remarkable changes that have occurred since the Coronation, many of them for the better; and of the things that have remained constant, such as the importance of family, friendship and good neighbourliness.

“But reflection is not just about looking back. I and many others are looking forward to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.

“The baton relay left London in October and is now the other side of the world, on its way across 70 nations and territories before arriving in Scotland next summer. Its journey is a reminder that the Commonwealth can offer us a fresh view of life.

“My son Charles summed this up at the recent meeting in Sri Lanka. He spoke of the Commonwealth’s ‘family ties’ that are a source of encouragement to many. Like any family there can be differences of opinion. But however strongly they’re expressed they are held within the common bond of friendship and shared experiences.

“Here at home my own family is a little larger this Christmas.

“As so many of you will know, the arrival of a baby gives everyone the chance to contemplate the future with renewed happiness and hope. For the new parents, life will never be quite the same again.

“As with all who are christened, George was baptised into a joyful faith of Christian duty and service. After the christening, we gathered for the traditional photograph.

“It was a happy occasion, bringing together four generations.

“In the year ahead, I hope you will have time to pause for moments of quiet reflection. As the man in the plaster cast discovered, the results can sometimes be surprising.

“For Christians, as for all people of faith, reflection, meditation and prayer help us to renew ourselves in God’s love, as we strive daily to become better people. The Christmas message shows us that this love is for everyone. There is no one beyond its reach.

“On the first Christmas, in the fields above Bethlehem, as they sat in the cold of night watching their resting sheep, the local shepherds must have had no shortage of time for reflection. Suddenly all this was to change. These humble shepherds were the first to hear and ponder the wondrous news of the birth of Christ – the first noel – the joy of which we celebrate today.

“I wish you all a very happy Christmas.”

Just Posted

VIDEO: Rollover crash in Langley’s Walnut Grove neighbourhood

No serious injuries reported in Friday night crash

LCS students stage slapstick version of ‘Macbeth’

Farndale Avenue play runs April 25 to 28 at Langley Christian High School

Teen’s outlook positive, despite living with ‘Stone Man Syndrome’

Alexandra Hoodikoff has a conditon that affects one in two million people

Golden girl Bailey Herbert leads Olympians at Western Canadian championship meet

Langley Olympians Swim Club places fifth out of 71 teams during prestigious meet in Victoria

VIDEO: Jewelry designer casts new soul in old gold

In response to industry changes, Karyn Chopik is recycling old jewelry into modern art

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision in last B.C. election

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

Sunset Beach Park to close for 10 weeks to repair damage from 4-20 event

Vancouver Parks Board said a fence will be placed around the damaged field for ‘major rehabilitation’

16 of 20 fastest improving B.C. schools are public: Fraser Institute

Independent elementary schools remain at top of the chart in think tank’s annual report card

Police probe cause after skateboarder dies in collision with semi-truck

New Westminster police say its not certain whether the skateboarder was in crosswalk or near it

NAFTA: Talks continue through weekend in scramble to get a deal

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called negotiations ‘perpetual’

Pulp mill fined $900,000 for leaking effluent into B.C. lake

Mackenzie Pulp Mill pleaded guilty to depositing deleterious substance into water frequented by fish

B.C.’s 2-year lobbying ban starts May 1

Office of the Registrar of Lobbyists can grant exemptions from the prohibition if public interest

Horgan speaks of government’s successes to ‘friends’ at CUPE BC convention

CUPE BC president Paul Faoro said was first time a B.C. premier addressed convention in some time

Speed Skating Canada fires coach Michael Crowe after investigation

Crowe was a coach on the American team from 1983 to 1991 and again from 1999 to 2006

Most Read