“We don’t do God” was the interruption by Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s most famous ‘spin doctor’, when the former Prime Minister was asked a question on the subject of his faith in 2003. In another incident, according to an article in the Telegraph, Mr Blair had a full scale debate with his team of advisors over his desire to end his statement on the beginning of the Iraq War with the words ‘God bless you’. He is said to have described them as ‘a most ungodly lot’ and eventually concluded the statement with ‘thank you’.
These days, most of the faces have changed but they remain a pretty ungodly lot. Both Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are atheists and although the current Prime Minister, David Cameron, has said that he is a Christian, from other things that he has said, his Christianity would seem to be of the watered down variety.
In this bleak spiritual landscape, how refreshing it is to see a public figure identifying herself with the Christian message. I am referring to the Queen’s Christmas speech. I’m sure Her Majesty would have come under the same pressure as Mr Blair to water down her words in one of the only occasions when she can speak for herself. The full text of the speech can be found here but here is a section;
“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.”
Whatever our personal views on the monarchy, we are privileged to have someone in authority who has a desire to share the Gospel message. Let us pray for our Queen and others in public life.