Christmas Broadcast 2008
Published 25 December 2008
When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.
The Queen's 2008 Christmas Broadcast focused on celebration and reflection in the year that The Prince of Wales celebrated his 60th birthday.
Christmas is a time for celebration, but this year it is a more sombre occasion for many. Some of those things which could once have been taken for granted suddenly seem less certain and, naturally, give rise to feelings of insecurity.
People are touched by events which have their roots far across the world. Whether it is the global economy or violence in a distant land, the effects can be keenly felt at home. Once again, many of our service men and women are serving on operations in common cause to bring peace and security to troubled places.
In this ninetieth year since the end of the First World War, the last survivors recently commemorated the service and enormous sacrifice of their own generation. Their successors in theatres such as Iraq and Afghanistan are still to be found in harm’s way in the service of others. For their loved ones, the worry will never cease until they are safely home.
In such times as these we can all learn some lessons from the past. We might begin to see things in a new perspective. And certainly, we begin to ask ourselves where it is that we can find lasting happiness.
Over the years, those who have seemed to me to be the most happy, contented and fulfilled have always been the people who have lived the most outgoing and unselfish lives; the kind of people who are generous with their talents or their time. There are those who use their prosperity or good fortune for the benefit of others whether they number among the great philanthropists or are people who, with whatever they have, simply have a desire to help those less fortunate than themselves.
What they offer comes in the form of what can easily be recognised as service to the nation or service to the wider community. As often as not however, their unselfishness is a simply-taken-for-granted part of the life of their family or neighbourhood.
They tend to have some sense that life itself is full of blessings, and is a precious gift for which we should be thankful. When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.
I think we have a huge amount to learn from individuals such as these. And what I believe many of us share with them is a source of strength and peace of mind in our families and friends. Indeed, Prince Philip and I can reflect on the blessing, comfort and support we have gained from our own family in this special year for our son, The Prince of Wales.
Sixty years ago, he was baptised here in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace. As parents and grandparents, we feel great pride in seeing our family make their own unique contributions to society. Through his charities, The Prince of Wales has worked to support young people and other causes for the benefit of the wider community, and now his sons are following in his footsteps.
At Christmas, we feel very fortunate to have our family around us. But for many of you, this Christmas will mean separation from loved ones and perhaps reflection on the memories of those no longer with us.
I hope that, like me, you will be comforted by the example of Jesus of Nazareth who, often in circumstances of great adversity, managed to live an outgoing, unselfish and sacrificial life. Countless millions of people around the world continue to celebrate his birthday at Christmas, inspired by his teaching. He makes it clear that genuine human happiness and satisfaction lie more in giving than receiving; more in serving than in being served.
We can surely be grateful that, two thousand years after the birth of Jesus, so many of us are able to draw inspiration from his life and message, and to find in him a source of strength and courage. I hope that the Christmas message will encourage and sustain you too, now and in the coming year.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas.
Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver, Canada, 7 October 2002
Je chéris ma place dans la vie du Canada et mon lien avec tous les Canadiens et Canadiennes.
Legislative Assembly in Nunavut, Canada, 4 October 2002
I am proud to be the first member of the Canadian Royal Family to be greeted in Canada's newest territory.
Opening ceremony of the 17th Commonwealth Games, Manchester, 25 July 2002
It is my pleasure in this my Golden Jubilee Year to declare the 17th Commonwealth Games open.
Golden Jubilee visit to Liverpool, 25 July 2002
I am glad to be in Merseyside, which must be one of the most distinctive and energetic parts of the United Kingdom.
A speech by The Queen on her Golden Jubilee
I hope that these celebrations will remind us of our shared heritage and what it means to be a united people, enjoying the support of families, friends and neighbours around...
The death of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, 8 April 2002
I thank you for the support you are giving me and my family as we come to terms with her death and the void she has left in our midst.
Opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government, Australia, 2 March 2002
It is our very diversity which makes the Commonwealth strong.
Roma Street Parkland, Brisbane, Australia, 3 March 2002
We have both been struck by both the diversity as well as the dynamism of Australia, and the vigour and humour of Australians everywhere.
Adelaide Festival Hall, Australia, 27 February 2002
Whatever may lie ahead, I declare again here tonight that my admiration, affection and regard for the people of Australia will remain, as it has been over these past fifty...
Maori gathering at Rehua Marae, Christchurch, New Zealand, 25 February 2002
New Zealand is working to improve and strengthen all the various relationships between Maori and the Crown.
State dinner in Wellington, New Zealand, 25 February 2002
It is both a privilege and a pleasure to have served as Queen of New Zealand for these fifty years.
Jamaican Parliament, 19 February 2002
The Commonwealth remains one of the strongest pillars for the building of world-wide peace, growth and development.
Christmas Broadcast 2001
For Christmas marks a moment to pause, to reflect and believe in the possibilities of rebirth and renewal.
Christmas Broadcast 2000
By any measure this Millennium year has been an unforgettable one.
Christmas Broadcast 1999
This December we are looking back not just on one year, but on a hundred years and a thousand years.
Christmas Broadcast 1998
Though we each lead different lives, the experience of growing older, and the joys and emotions which it brings, are familiar to us all.
A speech by The Queen on her Golden Wedding Anniversary
He has, quite simply, been my strength and stay all these years.
A speech by The Queen following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales
May those who died rest in peace and may we, each and every one of us, thank God for someone who made many, many people happy.
Christmas Broadcast 1996
I remember my own childhood Christmases here, with my father and mother, and a great family gathering, and now I delight in seeing my children and grandchildren enjoying the...
Christmas Broadcast 1995
But I cannot think of any Christmas of my reign when the message of the angels has been more apt.
Christmas Broadcast 1954
So, our Commonwealth hearth becomes more precious than ever before by the contrast between its homely security and the storm which sometimes seems to be brewing outside, in...
Christmas Broadcast 1994
To see British and Russian veterans standing together, in memory of the sacrifices of their comrades-in-arms, was a moving experience.
Christmas Broadcast 1992
I first came here for Christmas as a grandchild. Nowadays, my grandchildren come here for the same family festival.
A speech by The Queen on the 40th Anniversary of her succession (Annus horribilis speech)
1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.
Christmas Broadcast 1991
I am constantly amazed by the generosity of donors and subscribers, great and small, who give so willingly and often towards the enjoyment of others.
Christmas Broadcast 1990
I hope that all of us lucky enough to be able to enjoy such gatherings this Christmas will take time to count our blessings.
Christmas Broadcast 1989
Unlike all the other planets in the solar system, earth shimmers green and blue in the sunlight and looks a very pleasant place to live.
Christmas Broadcast 1988
May the Christmas story encourage you, for it is a message of hope every year, not for a few, but for all.
A speech by The Queen to mark Australia's bicentenary
More than ten thousand men and women can take great pride in the parts they have played in the creation of this symbol of Australian unity and democracy.
Christmas Broadcast 1987
I hope we will all help each other to have a happy Christmas and, when the New Year comes, resolve to work for tolerance and understanding between all people.
Christmas Broadcast 1986
There are many serious and threatening problems in this country and in the world but they will never be solved until there is peace in our homes and love in our hearts.
Christmas Broadcast 1985
These success stories are often pushed into the background but they are the guarantee of our future.
Christmas Broadcast 1984
But friendship, whether we are talking of continents or next door neighbours, should not need strife as its forerunner.
Christmas Broadcast 1983
I hope that Christmas will remind us all that it is not how we communicate but what we communicate with each other that really matters.
Christmas Broadcast 1982
Throughout history, seamen all over the world have shared a common experience and there is a special sense of brotherhood between merchant and naval seamen, fishermen...
Christmas Broadcast 1981
All around us we see these acts of selflessness, people putting the life of someone else before their own.
Christmas Broadcast 1980
I come across examples of unselfish service in all walks of life and in many unexpected places.
Christmas Broadcast 1979
Today we celebrate the birth of the child who transformed history and gave us a great faith.
Christmas Broadcast 1978
My grandfather, King George V, started the tradition of the Christmas Day Broadcasts back in 1932.
A speech by The Queen to Parliament on her Silver Jubilee
Perhaps this Jubilee is a time to remind ourselves of the benefits which union has conferred, at home and in our international dealings, on the inhabitants of all parts of...
Christmas Broadcast 1976
Remember that good spreads outwards and every little does help.
Christmas Broadcast 1973
I believe that Christmas should remind us that the qualities of the human spirit are more important than material gain.