How President Obama is framing his Christmas message this year

President Obama, who talks about his Christian faith quite regularly, references it again in his messages around Christmas.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia (hidden behind other parishioners) attend services at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia (hidden behind other parishioners) attend services at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. RNS photo courtesy of Pete Souza, The White House

The Obamas attended the Sunday (Dec. 16) taping of “Christmas in Washington’’ benefit concert, which aids the Children’s National Medical Center.

“I should remind my girls that I like getting Christmas presents as much as anybody.  (Laughter.)” he said, according to a transcript provided by the White House. “But this is also a time to remember the story of a child born to two faithful travelers on a holy night, long ago.”

In his address, Obama referenced to what Jesus considered the two greatest commandments.

“The sacred birth of Jesus Christ was God’s gift to man on Earth. And through His example, He taught us that we should love the Lord, love our neighbors, as we love ourselves; It’s a teaching that has endured for generations,” he said. “And today, it lies at the heart of my faith and that of millions of Americans, and billions around the globe.”

As he has in the past, Obama appears to make an effort to reach out to all faiths–or those of no faith, with a call to action.

“No matter who we are, or where we come from, or how we worship, it’s a message of hope and devotion that can unite all of us this holiday season,” he said. “It compels all of us to reach out and help our less fortunate citizens — our poor, our sick, our neighbors in need — and to serve those who sacrifice so much on our behalf.”

The 2013 White House holiday card. Photo by Andrew Walker

The 2013 White House holiday card. Photo by Andrew Walker (Image source)

The White House Christmas card with the White House as a pop-up, is fairly generic. “As we gather around this season,” the card reads, “may the warmth and joy of the holidays fill your home.”

At the lighting of the Christmas tree on Dec. 6, Obama also retold the story of Jesus’s birth.

“Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable’s roof to shelter Him. But through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, a life guided by faith and kindness towards others, Christ assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia.”

He expanded on how Jesus impacted those around him.

“[Jesus] ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast.  He healed the sick,” Obama said. “And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds.”

Like in many of his speeches, Obama expanded on the story to make it universal.

“It’s a message both timeless and universal — no matter what God you pray to, or if you pray to none at all — we all have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to make a difference that is real and lasting,” he said. “We are our brother’s keeper. We are our sister’s keeper.”

The post How President Obama is framing his Christmas message this year appeared first on Religion News Service.

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