Even as end-of-year debates on government funding, tax provisions, and other contentious issues grind toward resolution, signs of Christmas are in the nation’s capital. Among the most prominent of these are the Christmas trees on the White House and Capitol lawns. Indeed, they have stirred top U.S. leaders to pause and share thoughts about this important season.
Overseeing his seventh lighting of the National Christmas Tree on the White House lawn, President Obama reflected:
It’s a chance to come together and to focus on what really matters –- the simple gifts of family and friends. The wonder and hope in a child’s eye. And, of course, the spirit of giving and compassion that can help all of us find new meaning in the world around us. That’s the message of the child whose birth families like mine celebrate on Christmas -– a prince born in a stable who taught us that we should love our neighbors as ourselves; and that we are our brothers’ keeper and our sisters’ keepers; that we should feed the hungry, visit the sick, welcome the stranger. These are the lessons of Jesus Christ. But they’re also the bedrock values of all faiths –- values to be cherished and embraced not only during the holidays, but to be practiced in our daily lives.
Similarly, officiating his first lighting of the Capitol Christmas Tree, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) remarked about the tree:
I hope it will be a reminder throughout the Christmas season—that even in the darkest of times, God is there. And He is good. And we should look for him in our lives. We should strive to do his work. We should give thanks by giving back. We should treat every day—and every person—as a gift. Nothing captures the Christmas spirit more than that overwhelming sense of gratitude.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: December 18, 2015