David Cameron quotes Bible in Christmas message

image captionDavid Cameron visited UK troops in Afghanistan just before Christmas

David Cameron has quoted a verse from the Bible while paying tribute to Britain's armed forces and emergency services in his Christmas message.

The prime minister said that Christmas was a time to "pause and reflect on what is important".

In an "extraordinary year" for the UK, the Prime Minister praised Team GB and the organisers of the London Olympics.

In the past, Mr Cameron had admitted he was a "vaguely practising" Christian, "full of doubts" on theological issues.

But his message makes reference to the New Testament Gospel of John while urging the public to remember the sacrifices of UK troops and emergency services.

'Prince of Peace'

"The Gospel of John tells us that [Jesus] was life, and that his life was the light of all mankind, and that he came with grace, truth and love," the prime minister says.

"Indeed, God's word reminds us that Jesus was the Prince of Peace.

"With that in mind, I would like to pay particular tribute to our brave servicemen and women who are overseas helping bring safety and security to all of us at home - their families who cannot be with them over the holidays; and to all the dedicated men and women in the emergency services who are working hard to support those in need."

The PM - who went to Afghanistan to visit British troops last week - added that the armed forces "deserve our thoughts and appreciation".

He also said that Britain "showed the world what we're made of" by staging what he described as " the most spectacular Olympic and Paralympic Games ever".

He praised the sporting achievements of Team GB and Paralympics GB, who he said "punched way above [their] weight in the medals table".

Mr Cameron also made reference to the celebrations surrounding the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, in which he said the country cheered the monarch "to the rafters".

He concluded: "However you celebrate this time of year, it is my hope and prayer that you have a happy and peaceful Christmas."

More on this story