Every year we herald the coming of Christmas by turning on the lights.
And light does more than create a festive mood —light brings hope.
For Christians, Jesus is 'the light of the world', but we can't celebrate his birth today in quite the usual way.
People of all faiths have been unable to gather as they would wish for their festivals, such as Passover, Easter, Eid, and Vaisakhi.
But we need life to go on.
Last month, fireworks lit up the sky around Windsor, as Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrated Diwali, the festival of lights, providing joyous moments of hope and unity — despite social distancing.
Remarkably, a year that has necessarily kept people apart has, in many ways, brought us closer.
Across the Commonwealth, my family and I have been inspired by stories of people volunteering in their communities, helping those in need.
In the United Kingdom and around the world, people have risen magnificently to the challenges of the year, and I am so proud and moved by this quiet, indomitable spirit.
To our young people in particular I say thank you for the part you have played.