Per the Dutch royal court (rough translation):
“In the excitement of everyday life, often focusing on the here and now, Christmas is a haven, a time for reflection on our life and our relationships with others, near and far.
Precisely at Christmas, yet the festival of lights, we are reminded of personal loss and grief. Who has lost a loved one feels in these days extra sharp pain.
To be in a larger context of family and friends, can give comfort and strength. Realize recorded Their support, often in silence, in the background cause for gratitude.
So too were Princess Margriet and Mr.. Pieter van Vollenhoven my mother for thirty-three years. My uncle and aunt have vigorously deployed alongside their own work in the service of its Kingship, in light and dark periods. They deserve a special word of thanks.
In the year that lies behind us, is a strong appeal to the resilience and persistence of large groups of Dutch. Many people worry about their jobs and their income. They feel dependent on social forces which they have no control.
Who loses job or business, can not find or can not work, no job gets lost more than just financial security. Our work is also part of who we are. It determines the image people have of themselves and their place in society and the world. Having work affects the social contacts and the feeling to be appreciated. The need for recognition and understanding connects us humans, not only at Christmas but all year round.
Essential in our lives, our relationships with others, primarily those near: members of the family, the family, friends and colleagues at work. “People are people through other people,” says an African proverb. From that experience, many with Christmas seek the company of those who are dear. But that option is not for everyone.
Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people are not home today to celebrate the party. They serve the public good, in hospitals and institutions, in public utilities, transport and transportation, police, or further away, at sea or in distant countries, working on peace and security. They all deserve our support.
Hundreds of thousands of Dutch spend Christmas alone. That may very well be a positive, own choice. ‘Only’ is not the same, after all, ‘lonely’. For many, the seclusion not voluntary. Either because they have no immediate relatives. Either because contacts are gone. They are thrown back on himself and often wait on an outstretched hand or a listening ear.
How people can live in isolation deep inside remains the hope of appreciation and contact alive. That hope never goes out.
Christmas is the celebration of the expectation of “peace on earth, good will toward men.”
The singing of those rules as an expression of personal faith, can give a sense of discomfort at the same time.
The world is so big.
The problems are so widespread.
Interests are so opposed. And, the suffering of people is often horrifying. Nature Violence strikes communities apart. We see images of people in makeshift camps, fleeing hunger and terror. We hear words of hatred that are passed from generation to generation making conciliatory noises seem well-intentioned no chance.
And yet, “Peace on Earth” more than an unattainable ideal. More than a star in the sky.
Peace on earth begins very close. Home. In the street. Nearby. At the club. In our own town or city.
Everyone can – on his or her own way – to contribute to peace by seeking connections. This sometimes requires a bit of courage and self-conquest. Sometimes resistance must be overcome. But overcoming resistance gives more satisfaction than spineless and aimless drift with the current.
In the past year, but in previous years, my wife and I had the privilege to meet someone who actually seek connection with others. Many people Carers and volunteers. Childminders who have their home open to children who are in a fix. Buddies who care for people with severe illness. Innovative entrepreneurs who feel a strong social responsibility and act accordingly. Residents who do not wait, but together to find solutions to improve their living environment. And also doctors, social workers, development workers and soldiers far from home, under the toughest conditions, concrete attempt to alleviate the suffering of others slightly.
They all look the connection from their personal belief that a better future is possible.
Therein lies the inspiration for many of the Christmas story, which is told from generation to generation. With the Child in the manger revives the hope of a new beginning. The news of Christmas is a message of hope and light in the darkest days: life does matter and we do together committed. Regardless of religion or belief, people feel attracted by that message.
By going connections to people can develop a force that can move mountains together. Something that joint force felt on April 30 of this year. For many, and for me, it was a memorable experience. In that spirit, we can look forward with confidence to the year ahead. There is to do. Much and nice work.
I wish you all – wherever you are and how your personal circumstances – a blessed Christmas.”