Filip, King of Belgians, noted that Christmas and the New Year was an excellent time to put a bit of distance between ourselves and our everyday activities, to draw a balance and realise life is a journey not undertaken alone but with others who are in need of company and a listening ear as well as good counsel.
"For most of us the end of the year is a time of gatherings and sharing, with attention for each other. For those who experienced strong challenges, are alone or have lost a loved one, somebody else's presence is an invaluable treasure."
The king called for attention for the most vulnerable in society and those who care for them. He spoke of the joy of children and seeing them as they really are at Christmas. He suggested this was a time children could see how vulnerable those who raise them are as we don't hide ourselves in our own problems but try to solve them: "Conquering these challenges delivers inner power. It's an inner force that allows us to open up to others."
"Our country is facing challenging times. Rightly so citizens are voicing concerns about important issues. Today we are experiencing serious political tensions. I trust policy-makers will be responsible and act in the importance of the country and the people."
"Inequality, poverty and intolerance and climate change are social problems that demand comprehensive solutions. They can only be dealt with effectively by listening to each other and opening our spirits with courage and a sense of initiative."
"Democracy requires a willingness to listen and dialogue. Let us prepare ourselves for the forthcoming federal, regional and European elections with open and sincere debate in which we respect ourselves because every vote must be the result of ripe consideration. 'Give me a support and leverage and I will move the earth' said Archimedes. Experience the time consciously and open yourself up to others using our internal power. These are the points of support with which we can move mountains."