Queen calls for service to others
The Queen has urged people to learn from unsung heroes when times are tough.
Delivering her Christmas message yesterday, the 82-year-old sovereign said that Christmas this year was a sombre occasion for many.
"Some of those things which could once have been taken for granted suddenly seem less certain and, naturally, give rise to feelings of insecurity," she said.
"People are touched by events which have their roots far across the world. Whether it is the global economy or violence in a distant land, the effects can be felt at home."
The Queen paid tribute to the armed forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan and she acknowledged that the worry for their loved ones would not stop until they returned.
She also praised those who acted in the service of others in civilian life and encouraged people to follow their example.
The Queen spoke of her pride in watching eldest son Charles support causes for young people and others through his charities and in seeing Charles' sons, William and Harry, follow in his footsteps.
"We can surely be grateful that, two thousand years after the birth of Jesus, so many of us are able to draw inspiration from his life and message, and to find in him a source of strength and courage," she said.