The King's Christmas Broadcast 2023

Published

And at a time of increasingly tragic conflict around the World, I pray that we can also do all in our power to protect each other.

Many of the Festivals of the great Religions of the world are celebrated with a special meal. A chance for family and friends to come together across generations; the act of sharing food adding to conviviality and togetherness.  For some, faith will be uppermost in their hearts. For others, it will be the joy of fellowship and the giving of presents. 

It is also a time when we remember those who are no longer with us and think also of those whose work of caring for others continues, even on this special day. This care and compassion we show to others is one of the themes of the Christmas Story, especially when Mary and Joseph were offered shelter in their hour of need by strangers, as they waited for Jesus to be born.

Over this past year my heart has been warmed by countless examples of the imaginative ways in which people are caring for one another – going the extra mile to help those around them simply because they know it is the right thing to do: at work and at home; within and across communities. 

My wife and I were delighted when hundreds of representatives of that selfless army of people - volunteers who serve their communities in so many ways and with such distinction- were able to join us in Westminster Abbey for the Coronation earlier this year.

They are an essential backbone of our society. Their presence meant so much to us both and emphasised the meaning of Coronation itself: above all, a call to us all to serve one another; to love and care for all. 

Service also lies at the heart of the Christmas story – the birth of Jesus who came to serve the whole world, showing us by his own example how to love our neighbour as ourselves. 

Throughout the year, my Family have witnessed how people of all ages are making a difference to their communities. This is all the more important at a time of real hardship for many, when we need to build on existing ways to support others less fortunate than ourselves. 

Because out of God’s providence we are blessed with much, and it is incumbent on us to use this wisely. However, service to others is but one way of honouring the whole of Creation which, after all, is a manifestation of the Divine. This is a belief shared by all religions. To care for this Creation is a responsibility owned by people of all faiths and of none. We care for the Earth for the sake of our children’s children. 

During my lifetime I have been so pleased to see a growing awareness of how we must protect the Earth and our natural world as the one home which we all share. I find great inspiration now from the way so many people recognise this – as does the Christmas Story, which tells us that Angels brought the message of hope first to shepherds. These were people who lived simply amongst others of God’s creatures. Those close to Nature were privileged that night… 

And at a time of increasingly tragic conflict around the World, I pray that we can also do all in our power to protect each other. The words of Jesus seem more than ever relevant: ‘do to others as you would have them do to you.’ Such values are universal, drawing together our Abrahamic family of religions, and other belief systems, across the Commonwealth and wider world. They remind us to imagine ourselves in the shoes of our neighbours, and to seek their good as we would our own. 

So on this Christmas Day my heart and my thanks go to all who are serving one another; all who are caring for our common home; and all who see and seek the good of others, not least the friend we do not yet know. In this way, we bring out the best in ourselves. 

I wish you a Christmas of ‘peace on Earth and good-will to all’, today and always.

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