Elizabeth, 89, is the head of the Church of England. In her address she quoted from the prologue to the Gospel of John, "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:5). She spoke of how millions of people of faith were lighting candles of hope. She said, "It is true that the world has had to confront moments of darkness this year, but that darkness will not overcome the light of Christ." She added: "There's an old saying that it is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
The Queen recorded her annual message from Buckingham Palace her London residence. Although she did not directly mention the militant Islamist attacks in her speech, however, she reminded her audience that Christianity's unchanging message "was not one of revenge or violence but simply that we should love one another." In that great hymn of the church, "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee" the third stanza goes like this:
Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blessed,
Wellspring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the joy divine.
Seated in front of a Christmas tree as she delivered the latest in a long line of seasonal royal messages that date back to George V in 1932, the queen, who turns 90 in April, reflected on her reign of over 63 years.
"One of the joys of living a long life is watching one's children, then grandchildren, then great-grandchildren, help decorate the Christmas tree," she said.
"And this year my family has a new member to join the fun," she added, referring to her fifth great-grandchild, Princess Charlotte, who was born in May to her grandson Prince William and his wife Kate.
"Gathering round the tree gives us a chance to think about the year ahead--I am looking forward to a busy 2016, though I have been warned I may have 'Happy Birthday' sung to me more than once or twice."
She concluded: "There are millions of people lighting candles of hope in our world today. Christmas is a good time to be thankful for them and for all that brings light to our lives."
[Editor's Note: I picked up this story from Reuters. I have endeavored to rewrite it to make it my own story for Hugh's News.]