LONDON (Christian Examiner) – Queen Elizabeth's annual Christmas speech this year will focus more on her personal Christian faith than in years past, The Daily Mail has reported.
According to the paper, a source familiar with a draft of the address claimed the address will center on the importance of Christianity in her own life, but also in the life of the British Commonwealth.
"Over the years, we've seen a greater emphasis on the Queen's faith and we're certain to see it in this year's Christmas broadcast. There's a fundamental optimism which, to an extent, is driven by her faith in contrast to the overall gloom. She is driven by a deep and spirited faith," the source said.
Though the queen's speech is pre-recorded, its contents are closely guarded until the actual broadcast on Christmas Day, as has been tradition for more than six decades.
Last year, the theme of Queen Elizabeth's speech was reconciliation in the face of war –whether in World War I or in Northern Ireland or in the face of political differences.
"For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life. A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ's example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith, or none," Queen Elizabeth said in 2014.
Retired Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who said after terrorists attacked Paris in November that only Christian values can save Europe, claimed the terror attacks and the growth of the Islamic State have pushed the Queen toward more openness about her own faith and the Christian heritage of Great Britain.
"Clearly extremism is a backdrop to anything that any public figures says at this time," Nazir-Ali said. "If people in this country gave greater heed to what the Queen says about the importance of Christianity in our personal as well as our national life, then we would be in a better place to confront it."
Nazir-Ali also said the Queen is mindful that an increasing number of Christians are facing persecution and, in some cases, near extinction. Christian persecution has also been a recurrent theme of Prince Charles' addresses in the past several years.
However, author and royal watcher Stephen Bates, whose book Royalty Inc. chronicles the lives of Queen Elizabeth and her family, said the address will highlight her faith as "a still, small reminder of the importance of the day amid the overwhelming wash of commerce."