Sunday, 24 December 2017

King Philippe of Belgium - Christmas Eve Speech (2017)

Ladies and gentlemen,

Earlier this month, a group of children visited me the palace with me. They were curious to discover and understand what a is the job of the King. When we talked about writing my Christmas speech, one of the children said, "How lucky we are to live in a country as beautiful as Belgium." Despite the personal difficulties we face, despite the insecurity in the world and the threat to global equilibrium,  we must dare to look at things differently. With a look that sees more than what is missing, then what is not there. With wonder.

How we look at things determines our actions.  If you marvel at nature, you will treat it more respectfully. And what is true for nature applies even more to the people around us. Behind each of our weaknesses and faults lives in each of us a rich inner beauty that deserves to be cultivated. Recently I visited a nursing home in Holsbeek. The care team there helps the residents to rediscover all the beautiful things that lie within them, beyond what old age or disease has taken away from them. As a result, they have succeeded in coming up with new ways to forge even closer ties with the neighborhood. We met happy people there. Such a look at old age brings hope. Marveling at the beauty of life gives us a thousand opportunities to live it better and to help others to live it well.

Wonder stimulates our creativity. I was very impressed by a project in Namur that stimulates ingenuity by bringing together technicians, entrepreneurs and artists.   They learn together to wonder again about simple objects of our everyday life, tools or technologies that they believed to understand. This inspires their own ingenuity and awakens innovative ideas. It is also how we must grasp the great challenges of our time, such as the future of our planet.  Only with the help of our creativity will we find solutions.

Finally, let us once again marvel at everything that we have built together, our common good, the result of a long history of connectedness, anchored in solidarity and compromises. From this we can draw strength, not to yield to sterile cynicism and indifference. The future of our democracies depends first and foremost on the way we look at them.  It begins with connection to each other. I am thinking very concretely of a beautiful project in St. Gilles, which was set up by young people, who call themselves 'the factory of connectedness'.  A visit to them is a real asset. And then there are those young people with a migrant background, whom the Queen and I recently met in Vilvoorde. They work together on social integration projects that build on finding self-respect. The beauty in her eyes spoke volumes.

Ladies and gentlemen,

There is a lot of unrest in our world. Tensions and trouble spots are multiplying. We need more than ever wonder. We need it for our children and their future. Let's make this choice together.

The Queen and I, as well as our whole family, wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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