Friday, December 26, 2008


The theme of Queen Beatrix's Christmas address was the generation gap. As in many western societies, in the Netherlands there are more and more elderly people, who live longer as never before and fewer and fewer younger people. The burden of the solidarity within generations is a heavy one, for the smaller and smaller group of younger shoulders having to bear it.

Here is the full text (in Dutch - there is also a video of the queen delivering the address on that link). Her speech was well-meant; she was relaxed and caring. It was an intensely personal address. Here is a rough transation of the last paragraphs:

The advancing of years also sees a growing experience of sadness, disappointment and setback, of people hurting each other, of indifference or impotence to improve conditions and to create better relationships. Ordeals are part of life and forms a human being: no matter how heavy, we have to learn to handle them. You see things differently with eyes that have cried.

Also in the coexistence within the close and the extended family, reconciliation and peace with each other and with ourselves is important. Every word, every gesture of forgiveness contributes to peace. It is never too late to offer a hand, to overcome mistrust or to solve a disagreement. It is never too late to love. In love you hold people.

Christmas is the celebration of God's love in the birth of His son. Every child that comes in the world, may expect warmth and security. The creation of trust and a feeling of security is on the path of parents. In the relationship between the generations there remains a need for values and traditions to life for. By learning how to deal with good and evil, conscience is formed and young people will become more stronger in life.

In a bond, each generation thinks about what offers guidance and gives a meaning to life. Generations come, and generations go, but in God's love we last forever.
(Above photo: -/AFP/Getty Images)

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