While end-of-year debates on government appropriations, military policy, tax provisions, judicial nominations, and other issues continue their rough road to resolution in this lame-duck session of Congress, Christmas is in the air in the nation’s capital. Top U.S. leaders took time in recent days to share their thoughts on this important season.
As he oversaw the festivities on the White House lawn for the lighting of the National Christmas Tree, President Obama declared:
[W]hile lighting the tree has entered into the 21st century, the story that we remember this season dates back more than 2,000 years. It’s the story of hope – the birth of a singular child into the simplest of circumstances – a child who would grow up to live a life of humility, and kindness, and compassion; who traveled with a message of empathy and understanding; who taught us to care for the poor, and the marginalized, and those who are different from ourselves. And more than two millennia later, the way he lived still compels us to do our best to build a more just and tolerant and decent world.
A couple days earlier, as he officiated the annual lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) reflected:
The scene was much humbler that first Christmas – just a group of shepherds keeping watch on a quiet night. But it is to these simple men that the angel suddenly appears, announcing that ‘unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.’ The shepherds don’t just rejoice at this gift, they go to catch a glimpse of it for themselves. ‘Let us now go to Bethlehem,’ they say to one another, ‘and see this thing which is come to pass.’ And once they get there, they share these good tidings with the world. That’s what makes Christmas so magical. It’s a time to rediscover for ourselves the glory of God’s love, to see with fresh eyes the beauty of simple things and traditions, and to rekindle the hope of peace and goodwill to all – just as the lights on the tree shine together to overcome the darkness.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: December 12, 2014