In hindsight of a turbulent year marked with terrorism and a refugee crisis, the leaders of the world address our concerns in their Christmas messages. Pope Francis, President Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II and our very own Willie (Koning Willem Alexander) all speak inspiring words so their loyal subjects can compose themselves, and enter the new year with optimism.

Pope Francis

Acknowledging the crises in the Middle East concerning religion, as well as a whole bunch of other disastrous happenings around the globe, Pope Francis urges for peace in those very places. He does this in a soberly manner, claiming that in today’s culture of consumerism one ought to respond with acts that are “simple, balanced, consistent, capable of seeing and doing what is essential.” Urging not only Catholics, but for all of mankind to do this in order to retrieve a lost humanity.

Barack Obama

From the halls of the White House, President Obama and his wife remind us of the ‘spirit’ of this season by upholding the very values Jesus taught and embodied. By calling to “care for those on society’s margins, the sick and the hungry, the poor and the persecuted, the stranger in need of shelter“, the president and his wife address the ongoing refugee crisis in the most Christmas way possible. Leaving us to wonder how a Christmas message would look like if you know who would ever be elected president.

Queen Elizabeth II

From Buckingham palace, the 89 – year old Queen aimed to emphasize on hope as light to battle the darkness we have experienced this year. Above all things, she stressed a sentiment of gratitude and accomplishment. For surely, in a time when people seem too preoccupied with the negativity pervading the news, to remember the many things to be thankful for is to acknowledge how these things far outweigh the negativity.

Koning Willem-Alexander

And, of course, our very own Willie also instilled, in very eloquent Dutch, words of hope, reassurance and courage. He neatly acknowledges the worrisome developments which have and are still taking place, whilst also attempting to pacify the many concerns and fears of his subjects. In doing so he sets an example, to bravely acknowledge these fears instead of denying them, and thereby not allowing them to take the reigns and determine our way of life. It is our way of life we feel to be threatened, the King aptly surmised, but this does not allow us to shut ourselves off from the world whilst many are looking at us in search of sanctuary. Not unlike Queen Elizabeth II, the King also called to be thankful of what we have established, and to keep this in mind when facing future obstacles.

Whether these messages either help or perpetuate all these concerns is up to the individual to determine. However, one cannot deny the examples these figures are setting as rulers for the common-folk, addressing a populace whose minds are running hither and tither when reflecting upon this year’s events. Continuing the trend of optimism these rulers attempted to convey in their messages, there were many positive things which took place this year, and many more to look forward to in the next.

On behalf of the Dutchreview team I wish everyone happy holidays and a courageous and optimistic new year!