Let the light of Christmas guide us, says Queen

The Queen drew on the parable of the Good Samaritan for her Christmas Day speech as she praised those caring for others in a difficult year.

In her traditional address to the nation, the Queen reflected on the pandemic as she remarked that for many this year, Christmas would 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."

Elsewhere in her address, the Queen spoke of how the pandemic had affected people of all faiths.

"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," she said.

"For Christians, Jesus is 'the light of the world', but we can't celebrate his birth today in quite the usual way.

"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 went on to say that the teachings of Christ had served as her "inner light" during the pandemic, as well as the "sense of purpose we can find in coming together to worship".

And she drew on the parable of the Good Samaritan, which she said was "still as relevant today", as she thanked frontline workers and ordinary people who had shown kindness to strangers during the pandemic.

"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," she said. 

She concluded: "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.

"It is in that spirit that I wish you a very happy Christmas."