King Charles speaks of the light of the world - our Lord Jesus

In his first Christmas message as King, Charles III has spoken of the faith in God and people he shares with his mother, the late Queen Elizabeth.

And he shared how much it meant to him to visit some years ago the birthplace in Bethlehem of “our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Speaking from the chapel of St. George at Windsor Castle, where his mother, the late Queen, and his father are laid to rest, the King first thanked all the people who sent “deeply touching letters, cards, and messages” in the wake of the Queen’s death in September.

Christmas is a particularly poignant time for all of us who have lost loved ones. We feel their absence at every familiar turn of the season and remember them in each cherished tradition,” he said.

“In the much-loved carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem, we sing of how ‘in that dark street shineth the everlasting light.’ My mother’s belief in the power of that light was an essential part of her faith in God, but also her faith in people, and it is one which I share with my whole heart.

“It is a belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch with goodness and compassion the lives of others and to shine a light in the world around them. This is the essence of our community and the very foundation of our society.”

This theme of shining a light was threaded through the five-minute broadcast. He This light, he said, was seen in the “selfless dedication” of the armed forces, emergency services, health and social care professionals, and teachers and “in the humanity of people throughout our nations and the commonwealth who so readily respond to the plight of others.

“Such heartfelt solidarity is the most inspiring expression of loving our neighbour as ourself,” he said, paying tribute to the work of the Prince and Princess of Wales in a recent visit to Wales.

The broadcast also included footage of working royals Princess Anne and Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, but the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, and Prince Andrew were absent.

The emotional heart of the King’s speech was his recollection of what it meant to him to fulfil a lifelong wish to visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

“I went down into the chapel of the manger and stood in silent reverence by the silver star that is inlaid on the floor and marks the place of our Lord Jesus Christ’s birth,” he said as scenes from that visit were shown.

“It meant more to me than I can possibly express to stand on that spot where, as the Bible tells us, the light that has come into the world was born.”

After acknowledging that Christmas is a Christian celebration, he said the power of light overcoming darkness is celebrated across the boundaries of faith and belief.

“So whatever faith you have or whether you have none, it is in this life-giving light and with the true humility that lies in our service to others that I believe we can find hope for the future. let us therefore celebrate it together and cherish it always.

“With all my heart, I wish each of you a Christmas of peace, happiness, and everlasting light.”