Chancellor's Lectures 2012: The Queen's Speech - exploring the themes of her first sixty Christmas broadcasts
The Queen 1952
Canon Dr Anthony Cane writes about his forthcoming Chancellor's Lectures
On Christmas Day 2011, the Queen used her annual Christmas Day broadcast to speak of courage and hope in adversity. She noted the resilience of communities in New Zealand after earthquakes, Australia after flooding and Wales after the mining disaster at Gleision Colliery. Her Majesty then went on to link this theme to the Christian faith: 'Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas,' she said. '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'.
The Queen has been speaking like this for so long that we are in danger of forgetting how unusual it is for a public figure to speak of world events in the light of a personal Christian faith. In my Chancellor's lectures this year, I want to celebrate her Christmas broadcasts, and explore some of their themes. As the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, it seems a good time to examine how her broadcasts reflect the huge changes we have seen over the past sixty years.
Since she has spoken of so many things, from sport to space travel, from the Commonwealth to conflict, I am spoilt for choice, but my selection will be influenced by the times we live in, and some of the great events and anniversaries of 2012. I hope you will join me as I seek to do justice to some of what the Queen has said and done in her first six decades on the throne, and take some of her themes further than she was able to within her relatively brief broadcasts.
I will seek to follow her in allowing the Christian faith to illuminate what is happening in our world. As she said on Christmas Day 2011, '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.'