Queen Elizabeth defends Faith, family, marriage, morality ...
Did anyone else notice what a splendid Christmas message Her Majesty the Queen gave this year? I think that the advancing years are giving her the courage to speak from her heart.
She told us that wonderful things often happen in the midst of tragedy and suffering; that we discover another loving side of human nature - compassion - evinced by sad events. She referred to her visit to Australia in which she witnessed this first hand.
She then told us how, 2,000 years ago, in the midst of all our human suffering, God revealed his love for us by sending his Son; and that this was the message of the Angels to the Shepherds. She prayed that all her listeners throughout the Commonwealth would open their hearts to the Angels' message. Here are her exact words:
Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: 'Fear not', they urged, 'we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
'For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.'
Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed.
God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.
Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love.
In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there's a prayer:
O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.
It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord.
I wish you all a very happy Christmas. (Source BBC website).
So, a Christmas message about the Christmas message. How wonderfully appropriate.
In the context of the vitriol being poured out on the Hungarian people this week for their new constitution (defending marriage, the unborn child, etc ...) how about listening to the clarion call of the young Princess Elizabeth in 1949, calling for the re-establishment of traditional Christian morality? Here is what she said then:
From The Sydney Morning Herald, 19th October 1949:
Even if we make allowances for the rosey hue in which the passage of the years sometimes colours the past, we can hardly help admitting that we live in an age of growing self-indulgence, of hardening materialism and of falling moral standards.
[She exhorted her hearers to] 'uphold the sanctity of marriage.' "There will, of course, always be unhappy marriages, especially when, as in time of war, and of housing shortages, it is so difficult for people to live normal married lives."
"However, when we see around us the havoc which has been wrought, above all among the children, by the break-up of homes we can have no doubt that divorce and separation are responsible for some of the darkest evils in our society to-day."
Princess Elizabeth said that she did not think any finer service could be performed than helping to maintain the Christian doctrine that the relationship of a husband and wife was a permanent one, not lightly to be broken because of difficulties or quarrels.
The Princess concluded: "I believe there is a great fear in our generation of being labelled priggish. In consequence, people are afraid to show disapproval of what they know to be wrong, and thus they end by seeming to condone what in their hearts they dislike.
"I am sure that it is just as wrong to err on that side as it is to be intolerant and over-critical. I hope, therefore, that you will give a lead to our contemporaries in the re-establishment of a wise and balanced code of right and wrong."
(Address to 3,600 young wives at the Westminster Central Hall.)
God save the Queen ...