QUEEN Elizabeth II's portrait marking her 90th year. With her is Prince Charles.

Inspiration theme of this year’s Queen’s Christmas message

Christ's example helps me see the value of doing small things with great love, whoever does them and whatever they themselves believe.

  • Dec. 25, 2016 1:00 p.m.

THERE was a time when British Olympic medal winners became household names because there were so few of them.

But the 67 medals at this year’s Games in Rio and 147 at the Paralympics meant that the GB medallists’ reception at Buckingham Palace was a crowded and happy event.

Throughout the Commonwealth there were equally joyful celebrations. Grenada, the Bahamas, Jamaica and New Zealand won more medals per head of population than any other countries.

Many of this year’s winners spoke of being inspired by athletes of previous generations.

Inspiration fed their aspiration; and having discovered abilities they scarcely knew they had, these athletes are now inspiring others.

A few months ago, I saw inspiration of a different kind when I opened the new Cambridge base of the East Anglian Air Ambulance, where Prince William works as a helicopter pilot.

It was not hard to be moved by the dedication of the highly skilled doctors, paramedics and crew, who are called out on average five times a day.

But to be inspirational you don’t have to save lives or win medals.

I often draw strength from meeting ordinary people doing extraordinary things: volunteers, carers, community organisers and good neighbours; unsung heroes whose quiet dedication makes them special.

They are an inspiration to those who know them, and their lives frequently embody a truth expressed by Mother Teresa, from this year Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

She once said: ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love’.

This has been the experience of two remarkable organisations, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and The Prince’s Trust, which are 60 and 40 years old this year. These started as small initiatives but have grown beyond any expectations, and continue to transform young people’s lives.

To mark my 90th birthday, volunteers and supporters of the six hundred charities of which I have been patron came to a lunch in The Mall.

Many of these organisations are modest in size but inspire me with the work they do.

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.

When people face a challenge they sometimes talk about taking a deep breath to find courage or strength. In fact, the word ‘inspire’ literally means ‘to breathe in’.

But even with the inspiration of others, it’s understandable that we sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help.

On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.

At Christmas, our attention is drawn to the birth of a baby some two thousand years ago. It was the humblest of beginnings, and his parents, Joseph and Mary, did not think they were important.

Jesus Christ lived obscurely for most of his life, and never travelled 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.

The message of Christmas reminds us that inspiration is a gift to be given as well as received, and that love begins small but always grows.

I wish you all a very happy Christmas.

 

Just Posted

Virus wipes out half the chum fry at hatchery

The number of chum in the river this year won’t be affected

Fundraiser kicks off in honour of missing Terrace man presumed dead

David Kim, 45, went missing April 7 between Terrace and Prince Rupert

DoK wants to have more say in SO2 monitoring

“The EEM is not static and was always designed for periodic review”

Kitimat RCMP ready to test for drivers under the influence of pot

“Like standardized field sobriety tests, drug recognition is observation-based.”

Winter road maintenance standards boosted

Quicker response times to be implemented

Shania Twain visits Canadian Armed Forces base in B.C.

Canadian country icon thanks members of CFB Esquimalt for their service

Countdown is on to the 2018 B.C. Summer Games

Cowichan Valley hosts on July 19-22

Driving Change: A B.C. man’s charitable trip across Canada

A Kelowna man, his bus, and his mission for positive change across our country

Case of teacher secretly filming teens reaches top court

Acquittal of teacher, Ryan Jarvis, who secretly videoed teens ‘dangerous,’ top court told

Why a 14-year-old will lead the charge at annual marijuana protest on the Hill

Marijuana enthusiasts have long been circling April 20 on their calendars as annual day of cannabis

B.C. communities await marine spill compensation years after incidents

The government maintains a Ship Source Oil Pollution Fund to compensate Canadians

RCMP say too early to know what happened in Broncos crash

RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said collission very complex

Conservative MP wants feds to close loophole for illegal border crossers

Immigration advocates call on government to suspend Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement

Alberta university criticized for honouring David Suzuki

University of Alberta plans to bestow environmentalist with honourary degree

Most Read