The Reason For The Season
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.
Ronald Reagan spoke of the joy and peace of Jesus’s birth on December 20, 1983:
“It is a very special pleasure for Nancy and me to extend warmest greetings and best wishes to all of you during this most joyous of holiday seasons.
This festive occasion is celebrated in many different ways. We exchange gifts, attend church services, decorate our homes and Christmas trees, and enjoy a family dinner. But perhaps the tradition that most warms the heart is the sound of Christmas music.
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 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. During this glorious festival, let us renew our determination to follow His example.
Won’t all of you join Nancy and me in a prayer for peace and good will. May a feeling of love and cheer fill the hearts of everyone throughout this holiday season and in the coming year.
We hope this Christmas will be especially wonderful and what it will usher in a new year of peace and prosperity.”
George H.W. Bush spoke of the lasting impact of Jesus’s birth upon human history on December 11, 1991:
“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. Christ taught that giving is the greatest of all aspirations and that the redemptive power of love and sacrifice is stronger than any force of arms. It is a testimony to the wisdom and the truth of these teachings that they have not only endured but also flourished over two millennia.
Blessed with an unparalleled degree of freedom and security, generations of Americans have been able to celebrate Christmas with open joy. Tragically, that has not always been the case in other nations, but we look to the future with optimism, and we celebrate the holidays with special gladness as courageous peoples around the world continue to claim the civil and religious liberty to which all people are heirs. The triumph of democratic ideals and the lessening of global tensions give us added reason for celebration this Christmas season, and as the world community draws closer together, the wisdom of Christ’s counsel to “to love thy neighbor as thyself” grows clearer.
By His words and by His example, Christ has called us to share our many blessings with others. As individuals and as a Nation, in our homes and in our communities, there are countless ways that we can extend to others the same love and mercy that God showed humankind when He gave us His only Son. During this holy season and throughout the year, let us look to the selfless spirit of giving that Jesus embodied as inspiration in our own lives — giving thanks for what God has done for us and abiding by Christ’s teaching to do for others as we would do for ourselves.
Barbara joins me in wishing all of our fellow Americans a Merry Christmas. God bless you.”
George W. Bush spoke of God giving His Son, so we can give to others on December 20, 2002:
“I send greetings to those celebrating Christmas.
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.
The true spirit of Christmas reflects a dedication to helping those in need, to giving hope to those in despair, and to spreading peace and understanding throughout the Earth. As we share love and enjoy the traditions of this holiday, we are also grateful for the men and women of our Armed Forces who are working to defend freedom, secure our homeland, and advance peace and safety around the world.
This Christmas, may we give thanks for the blessings God has granted to our Nation and in each of our lives. May the joy of the holidays renew our commitment to working together for a future of peace, opportunity, and hope.
Laura joins me in wishing you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.”
As we gather with family and exchange gifts, let’s also read the Christmas story from the Bible (Luke 2:1-20) and remember the true reason for this Christmas season.