At Christmas, people all over the world pause to remember the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This celebration has occurred despite difficulties or circumstances facing us throughout history. Many of America’s presidents have reminded us at Christmastime that Jesus’ birth has continued to impact the world.
For example, in the midst of World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt reminded the nation that the message of Jesus has endured for many reasons:
It is because the spirit of unselfish service personified by the life and the teachings of Christ makes appeal to the inner conscience and hope of every man and every woman in every part of the earth. It transcends in the ultimate all lines of race, of habitat, of nation. It lives in the midst of war, of slavery, of conquest. It survives prohibitions and decrees and force. It is an unquenchable Spring of Promise to humanity.
President Harry Truman acknowledged the reason for Christmas when he told Americans on Christmas Eve in 1952:
[W]e remember another night long ago. Then a Child was born in a stable. A star hovered over, drawing wise men from afar. Shepherds, in a field, heard angels singing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” That was the first Christmas and it was God’s great gift to us. This is a wonderful story. Year after year it brings peace and tranquility to troubled hearts in a troubled world. And tonight the earth seems hushed, as we turn to the old, old story of how “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This was a sentiment repeated by many modern era Presidents, such as when Ronald Reagan said:
Of all the songs ever sung at Christmastime, the most wonderful of all was the song of exaltation heard by the shepherds while tending their flocks on the night of Christ’s birth. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and said: “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of voices praising the Heavenly Father and singing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Sometimes, in the hustle and bustle of holiday preparations we forget that the true meaning of Christmas was given to us by the angelic host that holy night long ago. Christmas is the commemoration of the birth of the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, whose message would truly be one of good tidings and great joy, peace and good will.
And both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush spoke of the lasting impact of Christ’s birth.
At Christmas, we celebrate the promise of salvation that God gave to mankind almost 2,000 years ago. The birth of Christ changed the course of history, and His life changed the soul of man. (George H. W. Bush, 1991)
During the Christmas season, millions of people around the world gather with family and friends to give thanks for their blessings and to recall the events that took place in Bethlehem almost 2,000 years ago. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, whose life offers us a model of dignity, compassion, and justice, we renew our commitment to peace and understanding throughout the world. (George H. W. Bush, 1992)
During Christmas, we gather with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. As God’s only Son, Jesus came to Earth and gave His life so that we may live. His actions and His words remind us that service to others is central to our lives and that sacrifice and unconditional love must guide us and inspire us to lead lives of compassion, mercy, and justice. (George W. Bush, 2002)
So, read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20) and remember the true reason for the Christmas season.
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