The end of the 114th session of Congress is in sight and the days of this tumultuous political year are coming to a close. In the midst of the contentious battles that linger, signs of Christmas and the significance of the season are evident in Washington.
Officiating the lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree this week, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said, “To see so many people work so hard for so long just to give our Capitol some Christmas cheer—well, it’s nothing short of inspiring.” Speaking of Christ’s birth, the Speaker stated, “He never forsakes us. He always welcomes us back into his warm embrace. He lights our way. He makes straight our path. He fills every valley and brings every mountain low. We have only to accept the love he offers us. And tonight, we accept it with joy.”
President Barack Obama, overseeing his final lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the White House lawn, also set a tone of reflection. He told those gathered last week:
Over these next few weeks, as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, as we retell the story of weary travelers, a star, shepherds, Magi, I hope that we also focus ourselves on the message that this child brought to this Earth some 2,000 years ago -- a message that says we have to be our brother’s keepers, our sister’s keepers; that we have to reach out to each other, to forgive each other. To let the light of our good deeds shine for all. To care for the sick, and the hungry, and the downtrodden. And of course, to love one another, even our enemies, and treat one another the way we would want to be treated ourselves.
The President added, “It’s a message of unity and a message of decency and a message of hope that never goes out of style.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: December 9, 2016