'Light brings hope' says the Queen in her Christmas 2020 address

“The teachings of Christ have served as my inner light”

The Queen has focussed attention on “light that brings hope” in her 2020 Christmas address, saying the teachings of Christ are her personal “inner light”.

“Every year we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights. And light does more than create a festive mood — light brings hope,” Her Majesty said. “For Christians, Jesus is ‘the light of the world’, but we can’t celebrate his birth today in quite the usual way.”

She noted that light is an important symbol in other religions also.

“People of all faiths have been unable to gather as they would wish for their festivals, such as Passover, Easter, Eid and Vaisakhi. But we need life to go on,” she said.

“Last month, fireworks lit up the sky around Windsor, as Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, providing joyous moments of hope and unity — despite social distancing.”

“Even on the darkest nights – there is hope in the new dawn.”

The 94-year-old monarch’s speech balanced sombre reflection on the loss and sadness brought by that the global COVID-19 pandemic, and commendation of how people across the world have “risen magnificently to the challenges of the year”.

But it was acts of selfless service that featured most prominently in the annual address, as she pointed to the historic examples of Florence Nightingale and the anonymous soldier commemorated in the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey – both of whom were commemorated this year – along with the Bible’s Good Samaritan.

“Today, our frontline services still shine that lamp for us – supported by the amazing achievements of modern science – and we owe them a debt of gratitude,” the Queen said. “We continue to be inspired by the kindness of strangers and draw comfort that – even on the darkest nights – there is hope in the new dawn.”

“Jesus touched on this with the parable of the Good Samaritan. The man who is robbed and left at the roadside is saved by someone who did not share his religion or culture. This wonderful story of kindness is still as relevant today.

“Good Samaritans have emerged across society showing care and respect for all, regardless of gender, race or background, reminding us that each one of us is special and equal in the eyes of God.”

In recent years, the Queen has been increasingly open about her personal Christian faith in these public addresses, and this year was no different.

“The teachings of Christ have served as my inner light, as has the sense of purpose we can find in coming together to worship,” she said.

Yet Her Majesty did not retreat from the harsh realities that the “difficult and unpredictable times” of 2020 have brought to many people.

“Of course, for many, this time of year will be tinged with sadness: some mourning the loss of those dear to them, and others missing friends and family members distanced for safety, when all they’d really want for Christmas is a simple hug or a squeeze of the hand,” she said.

“If you are among them, you are not alone, and let me assure you of my thoughts and prayers.

“The Bible tells how a star appeared in the sky, its light guiding the shepherds and wise men to the scene of Jesus’s birth. Let the light of Christmas — the spirit of selflessness, love and above all hope — guide us in the times ahead.”

The broadcast concluded with the Lewisham and Greenwich National Health Service Choir singing ‘Joy to the World’ – with many choir members dressed in scrubs.