Every year, a message from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is broadcasted throughout the the United Kingdom on Christmas Day.
It is through this speech that the 90-year-old monarch addresses her subjects and imparts her wishes for the holidays, and it is usually infused with words of hope and wisdom.
In this year's recorded video, dutifully posted on The Royal Family’s very active social media accounts, we find the Queen sitting at her desk in the Regency Room of Buckingham Palace. A framed photo of her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, sits in the background, while a recent photo of the royal couple taken by Annie Leibowitz is up front.
The Queen begins by enumerating the wins among the Commonwealth countries in this year’s Olympics at Rio 2016, a feat that made Great Britain’s medalists’ reception at the palace “a crowded and happy event,” and proceeds to link that to inspiration as a means to feed aspiration.
But she eventually she goes on to say that “to be inspirational you don’t have to save lives or win medals,” and that many can draw inspiration from common folk doing extraordinary things.
Watch Queen Elizabeth II’s 10-minute speech below:
A source of inspiration herself, the Queen’s speech is loaded with valuable lessons for all of us. Here are our favorites:
1. Your charity of choice need not be a big one.
The Queen is patron to over 600 charities, for which she hosted a lunch in the Mall. She specifies that it’s not about their size but the work that they do that matters.
“From giving friendship and support to our veterans, the elderly or the bereaved; to championing music and dance; providing animal welfare; or protecting our fields and forests, their selfless devotion and generosity of spirit is an example to us all.”
2. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
The Queen shares that it’s the work of the unsung heroes that makes the greatest impact and inspires her most. From this, she quotes Mother Teresa, who once said: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
“I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organisers and good neighbors; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special.”
3. We can do our part in making the world a better place.
In times of injustice, we might think of ourselves too small, but Queen Elizabeth believes that through our individual acts of goodness, we can collectively overthrow this injustice.
4. Going back to the meaning of Christmas.
As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Queen Elizabeth reminds us this an example of humility and inspiration. The time of giving also means that we must give away inspiration freely, as we receive it so lovingly.
“Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life, and never traveled far. He was maligned and rejected by many, though he had done no wrong. And yet, billions of people now follow his teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them because Christ’s example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.”
She ends her speech by simply wishing us all a happy Christmas.
Long live the Queen!