He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure. (Isaiah 33:6)
On the 6th of February 1952, the United Kingdom found itself with a new monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. All over the UK, and indeed the world this week, many celebrations are being held to commemorate 70 years of our Queen’s service to the nation.
For her, like all people, the last 70 years have been characterised by both happy and sad events, one of the most recent being the death of her husband, Prince Philip. However, one thing that has remained constant during her time as Queen has been her Christian faith. Over the decades, Queen Elizabeth II has made numerous references to God, acknowledging Jesus Christ as One from whom she has “drawn great comfort in difficult times”. (The Queens’ Christmas Message 2000).
In 1947, on her 21st Birthday while in South Africa on a three-month tour of the country with her parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, while addressing the people of the Commonwealth, she said: “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong. God help me to make good my vow.”
In her first televised Christmas message in 1957, she read some paragraphs from Pilgrim’s Progress.
In four of her Christmas broadcasts, The Queen has talked about the parable Jesus told of a ‘Good Samaritan’. In 1985 she said the story ‘reminds us of our duty to our neighbour. We should try to follow Christ's clear instruction at the end of that story: "Go and do thou likewise".’
The Millennium Christmas message included the words: “To many of us our beliefs are of fundamental importance. For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to lead my life. I, like so many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.” (2000)
One of my personal favourite references to Christ by The Queen is the following from her Christmas message of 2012:‘This is the time of year when we remember that God sent his only son “to serve, not to be served”. He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this Christmas Day that his example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others. The carol, “In the Bleak Midwinter” ends by asking a question of all of us who know the Christmas story, of how God gave himself to us in humble service:
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part…
‘The carol gives the answer, 'Yet what can I give him? – give my heart'.”
Not only has The Queen been faithful to God over the last 70 years, but we know that He has been exceedingly faithful to her. In her first Christmas broadcast as Queen in 1952, months before her Coronation, she stated: “Pray for me… that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life”. He has most surely honoured that prayer and has been a
sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge. (Isaiah 33:6)
We thank God today for His great faithfulness and rejoice that His name has been honoured and lifted high through Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
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