“After two years of this pandemic, I can’t say that we are through it.
How can I? When Omicron is surging, when we all know, we must together try to stop the spread of this new variant,
We must test ourselves and take extra care when meeting elderly or vulnerable relatives. We know that things remain difficult.
But for millions of families up and down the country, I hope and believe that this Christmas is, and will be, significantly better than the last, in this vital respect.
That we can celebrate together with those we love and raise our glasses to those who can’t be with us.
And if this year you need a bigger turkey and there are more sprouts to peel and more washing up to do, then that is all to the good, because these rituals matter so deeply.
And I hope that people will enjoy this Christmas this year all the more keenly because of what we had to miss last year.
And if the pile of scrumpled wrapping paper is bigger this year it is precisely because across the country, in the run up to Christmas, we have been giving each other an invisible and invaluable present.
We have been getting that vaccination that protects us and stops us infecting others.
And I hope I can be forgiven for taking pride in the immense spirit of neighbourliness that the people of this country have shown.
Getting jabbed not just for themselves, for ourselves, but for friends and family and everyone we meet.
And that, after all, is the teaching of Jesus Christ, whose birth is at the heart of this enormous festival – that we should love our neighbours as we love ourselves.
And so let’s think of all those who are being good neighbours and thinking of others.
All those in the NHS working over Christmas, our care workers, everyone involved in the incredible vaccination campaign.
Those looking after people who have lost loved ones this year, and who would otherwise be on their own.
The many thousands of people who are selflessly self-isolating to keep others safe from Covid.
And though the time for buying presents is theoretically running out, there is still a wonderful thing you can give your family and the whole country…
…and that is to get that jab, whether it is your first or second, or your booster.
so that next year’s festivities are even better than this year’s.
And in the meantime, I thank you, and wish you all a very merry Christmas.”