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(pt1) Merry CHRISTMAS America, a uniquely Christian nation, the reason for the season, ect. From our founders to the present

MERRY CHRISTMAS AMERICA: In the year of our Lord Jesus Christ 2013 and of the independence of the United States 237

“America has no King but ‘God’, our creator; and no princes but the ‘Prince of Peace’, our greatest Counselor” – unattributed “And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people.” – Luke 2:10

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

The Birth Of Christ And The Birth Of America indissolubly Linked

In an address at an 1837 Independence Day celebration at Newburyport, Mass., 6th President John Quincy Adams, son of 2nd President John Adams (a Founding Father who helped draft the Declaration), linked the birth of Jesus Christ to that of our country:

President John Quincy Adams“Why is it, Friends and Fellow Citizens, that you are here assembled? Why is it, that, entering upon the sixty-second year of our national existence, you have honored with an invitation to address you from this place, a fellow citizen of a former age, bearing in the records of his memory, the warm and vivid affections which attached him, at the distance of a full half century, to your town, and to your forefathers, then the cherished associates of his youthful days? Why is it that, next to the birth day of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day? – And why is it that, among the swarming myriads of our population, thousands and tens of thousands among us, abstaining, under the dictate of religious principle, from the commemoration of that birth-day of Him, who brought life and immortality to light, yet unite with all their brethren of this community, year after year, in celebrating this the birth-day of the nation? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon the earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity, and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfilment of the prophecies, announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Savior and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets six hundred years before?” Adams was exactly right: America’s birth is directly linked to the birth of our Savior. In fact, the United States of America is the only nation established by Christian people, upon Biblical principles, and dedicated to the purpose of religious liberty. This truth is easily observed within America’s earliest history dating back to 1620 as our forebears established a written covenant with God when they penned The Mayflower Compact. On through the 1700’s and our later independence and birth of our new nation the United States of America, the sentiments and statements of America’s founders make it clear that this nation has enjoyed a love and appreciation for the rights and freedoms recognized in Natural Law that is unique in the annals of human history. No other people have such a heritage.

One thing America’s founders could not envision was–after they had paid so terrible a price to purchase our liberties–that the time would come when their posterity would be denied the basic freedoms to publicly express their reverence for God. Never could they have imagined that the day would come when citizens of the sovereign states (each with a State constitution protecting religious liberty) would be denied their right to pray in school, or place Nativity scenes on public property, or hang copies of the Ten Commandments on courthouse walls. Therefore, at this Christmas season, let us remember well the founding principles of these United States of America. Furthermore, in the coming new year, let us renew with vigor the fight for freedom before our liberties and our heritage are gone altogether.

# # # The Christmas Poinsettia, first introduced to America during John Quincy Adams' presidencyDID YOU KNOW? (scroll down for more American Christmas trivia) The popular Christmas Poinsettia was first introduced to the U.S. during John Quincy Adams’ presidency by Joel R. Poinsett, the first diplomatic minister to Mexico.

“[T]here was no anarchy. … [T]he people of the North American union, and of its constituent States, were associated bodies of civilized men and Christians in a state of nature, but not of anarchy. They were bound by the laws of God, which they all, and by the laws of the Gospel, which they nearly all, acknowledged as the rules of their conduct.” – United States Founding Father, Sixth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, 1821

To expound further on Adams sentiments as to the  indissoluble bond between the Birth Of Christ And The Birth Of America and the Liberty of it’s people, consider the following:

DID YOU KNOW? Founding influences, the Bible – The United States Founding Father’s quoted directly out of the Bible 34% of the time. This was 4 times more often than they quoted their next most popular influence – Baron Charles de Montesquieu, 4 times more than the next most influential source – Sir William Blackstone, and 12 time more often than the next most influential source – John Locke. And when you consider that many of the ideas  of Montesquieu, Blackstone, and Locke, came from the Bible, you can easily see that the Bible was the most important document in the founding of the United  States.

“Proclaim liberty throughout the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. LEVITICUS 25:10” – The Bible verse inscribed by the United States Founding Fathers on the “Liberty Bell” of “Independence Hall” in Philadelphia where the Declaration and Constitution were created.

“[T]hat the use of the Bible is so universal, and its importance so great … your Committee recommend that Congress will order the Committee of Commerce to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or elsewhere, into the different ports of the States of the Union.” – Congressional Committee Report presented September 11, 1777 in response to a request on July 7, 1777 that Congress import or print more Bibles for Americans in response to a British embargo that created a shortage of Bibles in America. Committee members were Founding Fathers Daniel Roberdeau, John Adams, and Jonathan Smith. Congress indeed ordered the Bibles imported based on the report. “These communities, by their representatives in old Independence Hall, said to the whole world of men: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” … They erected a beacon to guide their children, and their children’s children, and the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in other ages. … [T]hey established these great self-evident truths that … their posterity might look up again to the Declaration of Independence and take courage to renew that battle which their fathers began, so that truth and justice and mercy and all the humane and Christian virtues might not be extinguished from the land. … Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines conflicting with the great landmarks of the Declaration of Independence … let me entreat you to come back. … [C]ome back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence.” Abraham Lincoln, United States Founding Defender, 16th President of the United States

Founding Courts, New York –

  1. “Nothing could be more offensive to the virtuous      part of the community, or more injurious to the tender morals of the      young, than to declare such profanity lawful. … The free, equal, and      undisturbed enjoyment of religious opinion, whatever it may be, and free      and decent discussions on any religious subject, is granted and secured;      but to revile … the religion professed by almost the whole community is      an abuse of that right. … [W]e are a Christian people and the      morality of the country is deeply engrafted upon Christianity and not upon      the doctrines or worship of those impostors [other religions]. … [We      are] people whose manners … and whose morals have been elevated and      inspired … by means of the Christian religion. Though the constitution      has discarded religious establishments, it does not forbid judicial      cognizance of those offenses against religion and morality which have      no reference to any such establishment. … This [constitutional]      declaration (noble and magnanimous as it is, when duly understood) never      meant to withdraw religion in general, and with it the best sanctions of      moral and social obligation from all consideration and notice of the law.      … To construe it [the constitution] as breaking down the common law      barriers against licentious, wanton, and impious attacks upon Christianity      itself, would be an enormous perversion of its meaning.”  – New York Supreme Court, “People v. Ruggles”, 8 Johns      545-547 (Sup. Ct. NY. 1811), The Opinion of the Court was delivered by James      Kent, co-“Father of American Jurisprudence”, author of      “Commentaries on American Law”
  2. “[W]hatever strikes at the root of Christianity      tends manifestly to the dissolution of civil government … because it      tends to corrupt the morals of the people, and to destroy good order. …      [O]ffenses against religion and morality … strike at the root of moral      obligation and weaken the security of the social ties.”  – New York Supreme Court, “People v. Ruggles”, 8 Johns      546 (Sup. Ct. NY 1811).

Founding Courts, Pennsylvania –

  1. “[T]he assertion is once more made that Christianity never was received as part of the common law of this Christian land; and it is added that if it was it was virtually repealed by the Constitution of the United States and of this State. … We will first dispose of what is considered the grand objection – the constitutionality of Christianity – for, in effect, that is the question. Christianity, general Christianity, is and always has been a part of the common law … not Christianity founded on any particular religious tenets; not Christianity with an established church … but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men. Thus this wise legislature framed this great body of laws for a Christian country and Christian people. … This is the Christianity of the common law … and thus it is irrefragably [undeniably] proved that the laws and institutions of this State are built on the foundation of reverence for Christianity. …In this the Constitution of the United States has made no alteration nor in the great body of the laws which was an incorporation of the common-law doctrine of Christianity. No free government now exists in the world unless where Christianity is acknowledged and is the religion of the country. . . . Its foundations are broad and strong and deep . . . it is the purest system of morality, the firmest auxiliary, and only stable support of all human laws. … Christianity is part of the common law. … Its foundations are broad and strong and deep. … It is the purest system of morality … and only stable support of all human laws.”  – Pennsylvania Supreme Court, “Updegraph v. Commonwealth”, 11 Serg. & R. 393, 406 (Sup. Ct. Penn. 1824).

“The Bible is a book worth more than all the other books that were ever printed.”  – Patrick Henry

“I desire to bless and praise the name of God most high for appointing me my birth in a land of Gospel Light where the glorious tidings of a Saviour and of pardon and salvation through Him have been continually sounding in mine ears.” – United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Robert Treat Paine, 1749.

“Let us enter on this important business under the idea that we are Christians on whom the eyes of the world are now turned. … Let us in the first place … humbly and penitently implore the aid of the Almighty God whom we profess to serve – let us earnestly call and beseech him for Chirst’s sake to preside in our councils.” – Elias Boudinot, United States Founding Father, President Continental Congress

“[T]he Bible. … [is] a book containing the history of all men and of all nations and … [is] a necessary part of a polite education.” – United States Founding
Father, President of the Continental Congress, U.S. Diplomat, Selected as
Delegate to Constitutional Convention, Henry Laurens 1772

“[W]ithout morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure … are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments .” – Charles Carroll of Carrollton, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.” – United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin, 1787. Speech at Constitutional Convention for requesting that prayer open every secession.

“History will also afford frequent opportunities of showing the necessity of a public religion … and the excellency of the Christian religion above all others, ancient or modern.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Who composed that army of fine young fellows that was then before my eyes? There were among them Roman Catholics, English Episcopalians, Scotch and American Presbyterians, Methodists, Moravians, Anabaptists, German Lutherans, German Calvinists, Universalists, Arians, Priestleyans, Socinians, Independents, Congregationalists, Horse Protestants and House Protestants, Deists and Atheists, and Protestants “qui ne croyent rein.” Very few, however, of several of these species; nevertheless, all educated in the general principles of Christianity. … Could my answer be understood by any candid reader or hearer, to recommend to all the others the general principles, institutions, or systems of education of the Roman Catholics? Or those of the Quakers? Or those of the Presbyterians? Or those of the Methodists? Or those of the Moravians? Or those of the Universalists? Or those of the Philosophers? No. The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were. … the general principles of Christianity. … Now I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God. … I could therefore safely say, consistently with all my then and present information, that I believed they would never make discoveries in contradiction to these general principles.” – John Adams, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, “Atlas of American Independence”, Second President of the United States under the Constitution, to Thomas Jefferson on June 28, 1813

“As guardians of the prosperity, liberty, and morals of the State, we are therefore bound by every injunction of patriotism and wisdom … to patronize public improvements and to cherish all institutions for the diffusion of religious knowledge and for the promotion of virtue and piety.” – Daniel Tompkins, United States Founding Defender, Vice-President of the United States, Governor of New York, Vice-President of the American Bible Society, “The Speeches of the Different Governors to the Legislature of the State of New York, Commencing with Those of George Clinton and Continued Down to the Present Time”, (Albany: J. B. Van Steenbergh, 1825), p. 136, Governor Daniel Tompkins on November 5, 1816.

“Let us therefore implore Him to continue his benedictions upon our beloved country, and to grant us unanimity, patriotism, and wisdom, to pursue, at this important session, the most essential interest of this State and of the union.” – Daniel Tompkins

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty – as well as the privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers” – United States Founding Father, Co-Author Federalist Papers, Original Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and 2nd Governor of New York as well as the state’s leading opponent of slavery, – John Jay

“The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.” – John Jay, to Peter Augustus Jay 1784.

“The reflection and experience of many years have led me to consider the holy writings not only as the most authentic and instructive in themselves, but as the clue to all other history. They tell us what man is, and they alone tell us why he is what he is: a contradictory creature that seeing and approving of what is good, pursues and performs what is evil. All of private and of public life is there      displayed. … From the same pure fountain of wisdom we learn that vice      destroys freedom; that arbitrary power is founded on public immorality.” – United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, Penman of the      Constitution, Gouverneur Morris, “Collections of the New York Historical Society for the Year 1821”, An Inaugural Discourse Delivered Before the New York Historical Society by the Honorable Gouverneur Morris on Sept 4, 1816.

“The promulgation of the great doctrines of religion, the being, and attributes, and providence of one Almighty God; the responsibility to Him for all our actions, founded upon moral accountability; a future state of rewards and punishments; the cultivation of all the personal, social, and benevolent virtues: these never can be a matter of indifference in any well-ordered community. It is indeed difficult to conceive how any civilized society can well exist without them.” – Joseph Story, United States Founding Defender, United States Supreme Court Justice; appointed by President James Madision, Founder of Harvard Law School, Co-“Father of American Jurisprudence”

“Rendering thanks to my Creator for my existence and station among His works, for my birth in a country enlightened by the Gospel and enjoying freedom, and for all His other kindnesses, to Him I resign myself, humbly confiding in His goodness, and in His mercy through Jesus Christ for the events of eternity.” – United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, John Dickinson

“Human law must rest its authority ultimately upon the authority of that law which is divine. … Far from being rivals or enemies, religion and law are twin sisters, friends, and mutual assistants. Indeed, these two sciences run into each other.” – United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, James Wilson

“[T]he Holy Scriptures. … can alone secure to society, order and peace, and to our courts of justice and constitutions of government, purity, stability, and usefulness. In vain, without the Bible, we increase penal laws and draw entrenchments [protections] around our institutions.” – United States Founding Father, Signer of the Constitution, James McHenry

“Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled either by a power within them or by a power without them; either by the Word of God or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible or by the bayonet.”  – Robert Winthrop, United States Founding Defender, United States Congressman, Speaker of the House of Representatives, United States Senator

“May every citizen in the army and in the country have a proper sense of the Deity upon his mind and an impression of the declaration recorded in the Bible, ¡°Him that honoreth me I will honor, but he that despiseth me shall be lightly esteemed¡± [I Samuel 2:30].” – United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of  Independence, “Father of the American Revolution”, Samuel      Adams, article signed in Boston Gazette on June 12, 1780.

“The great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effectual means of extirpating [extinguishing] Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. [T]he Bible, when not read in schools, is seldom read in any subsequent period of life. … [It] should be read in our schools in preference to all other books from its containing the greatest portion of that kind of knowledge which is calculated to produce private and public temporal happiness.”  – Benjamin Rush, United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, 1789

“[T]he only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government; that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by means of the Bible.” – United States Founding Father, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush

“[T]o the free and universal reading of the Bible in that age, men were much indebted for right views of civil liberty. The Bible is … a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.” Daniel Webster, United States Founding Defender, “Defender of the Constitution”, Secretary of State, and US Senator

“What is an oath? … [I]t is founded on a degree of consciousness that there is a Power above us that will reward our virtues or punish our vices. … [O]ur system of oaths in all our courts, by which we hold liberty and property and all our rights, are founded on or rest on Christianity and a religious belief. … We all know that the doctrine of the … law is that there must be in every person who enters court as a witness, be he Christian or Hindoo, there must be a firm conviction on his mind that falsehood or perjury will be punished either in this world or the next or he cannot be admitted as a witness. If he has not this belief, he is disfranchised [not admitted].” – Daniel Webster

“Moral habits … cannot safely be trusted on any other foundation than religious principle nor any government be secure which is not supported by moral habits. … Whatever makes men good Christians, makes them good citizens.” Daniel Webster

“[T]he cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness … inspires respect for law and order, and gives strength to the whole social fabric.” Daniel Webster

“[T]he Christian religion – its general principles – must ever be regarded among us as the foundation of civil society.” – Daniel Webster, “Mr. Webster’s Speech in Defence of the Christian Ministry and in Favor of the Religious Instruction of the Young. Delivered in the Supreme Court of the United States, February 10, 1844

“[O]ur citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament, or the Christian religion.” – United States Founding Father, Revolutionary War soldier, Legislator, Noah Webster, “History of the United States”, (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 6.

“All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” – United States Founding Father, Revolutionary War soldier, Legislator, Abolitionist who helped found the Connecticut Society for the Abolition of Slavery in 1791, and he who has been called the “Father of American Scholarship and Education”, founder of the first truly American dictionary. His 1828 American Dictionary contained the greatest number of Biblical definitions given in any reference volume. Webster considered education “useless without the Bible” and for the purpose of providing its use as a better education tool, Webster released his own edition of the Bible in 1833, called the Common Version (aka the “Webster Bible”). He used the King James Version (KJV) as a base and is nearly identical V except for what Webster viewed to be corrections of the worst flaws of the text from the standpoint of an educator.   Noah Webster, “History of the United States”, (New Haven: Durrie & Peck, 1832), p. 339, sec. 53. Visit the Noah Webster House for more history and learning

“The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good, and the best corrector of all that is evil in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men, and the only book that can serve as an infallible guide to future felicity. With this estimate of its value, I have attempted to render the English version more useful, by correcting a few obvious errors, and removing some obscurities, with objectionable words and phrases; and my earnest prayer is that my labors may not be wholly unsuccessful.” – Noah Webster, 1833  [America’s first grammarian and founding father of American education. In 1828 Noah Webster published the “American Dictionary of the English Language”. This dictionary demonstrates the Christian values which were found in America’s educational and scholarly systems. It is from this early dictionary that we have todays popular “Webster Dictionary”. In 1833 Noah Webster, who had mastered 20 languages including Hebrew and Greek, published the King James Authorized Version “with amendments to the language”. This version is what is known as The Webster Bible {Bible Websters pdf}]

Having ended the segment above with sentiments on education, let us pause a moment with something for the kids (and some adults for that matter). Teach them well:

DID YOU NOW: Yes everyone there is a Santa Claus, his name is Nicholas, and he is a Saint who walked the path of Christ.

Card from St Nicholas Church,  North Walsham, Norfolk, UK, St. Nicholas Center Collection He dedicated his life to serving God, was made Bishop while still a young man, and became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need and his love for children. St. Nicholas suffered for his faith and was so widely revered that thousands of churches were named for him throughout the US, Europe, and the world. By his example of generosity to those in need, especially children, St. Nicholas continues to be a model for the compassionate life. Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas’ life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character, why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need, and why he lives on today, known by many names in many cultures,  including his Americanized name Santa Claus. Read it all here at “who is St Nicholas”.

St Nicholas stopping executionSt Nicholas famine reliefSt Nicholas bringing gifts St. Nicholas saving innocents, St. Nicholas providing food during famine, St. Nicholas bringing gifts Artist: Elisabeth Ivanovsky

 http://www.newseum.org/yesvirginia/ Click here to see the newspaper clipping

Newsman Francis Pharcellus Church wrote The Sun’s response to Virginia.

Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps. “DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. “Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. “Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’ “Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?”VIRGINIA O’HANLON. “115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET. “VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.You may tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Decades Later, Santa Claus Visits Author of Iconic ‘Yes Virginia’ Letter [EXCLUSIVE PHOTO]

yes-there-is-a-santa-Virginia-O’Hanlon-1969-

Photo: Catherine Harms Listen to Virginia read the editorial to the children:

DID YOU KNOW: The candy cane is also a Christmas symbol about Jesus

Christmas Candy Cane Poem about Jesus the Legend of the Candy CaneLook at the Candy Cane What do you see? Stripes that are red Like the blood shed for me White is for my Savior Who’s sinless and pure! “J” is for Jesus My Lord, that’s for sure! Turn it around And a staff you will see Jesus my shepherd Was born for Me!

christmas crecheFor several children’s activities and learning resources, including Story of Jesus Birth: Printable Christmas Book for Children, < visit Ministry-to-children.

Continuing on, a couple of our favorite Christmas in America flashbacks:

President Ronald Reagan address to the Nation About Christmas and the Situation in Poland

Good evening. At Christmas time, every home takes on a special beauty, a special warmth, and that’s certainly true of the White House, where so many famous Americans have spent their Christmases over the years. This fine old home, the people’s house, has seen so much, been so much a part of all our lives and history. It’s been humbling and inspiring for Nancy and me to be spending our first Christmas in this place. We’ve lived here as your tenants for almost a year now, and what a year it’s been. As a people we’ve been through quite a lot — moments of joy, of tragedy, and of real achievement — moments that I believe have brought us all closer together. G. K. Chesterton once said that the world would never starve for wonders, but only for the want of wonder. At this special time of year, we all renew our sense of wonder in recalling the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem, nearly 2,000 year ago. Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great and good philosopher and teacher. Others of us believe in the divinity of the child born in Bethlehem, that he was and is the promised Prince of Peace. Yes, we’ve questioned why he who could perform miracles chose to come among us as a helpless babe, but maybe that was his first miracle, his first great lesson that we should learn to care for one another. Tonight, in millions of American homes, the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love Jesus taught us. Like the shepherds and wise men of that first Christmas, we Americans have always tried to follow a higher light, a star, if you will. At lonely campfire vigils along the frontier, in the darkest days of the Great Depression, through war and peace, the twin beacons of faith and freedom have brightened the American sky. At times our footsteps may have faltered, but trusting in God’s help, we’ve never lost our way. Just across the way from the White House stand the two great emblems of the holiday season: a Menorah, symbolizing the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, and the National Christmas Tree, a beautiful towering blue spruce from Pennsylvania. Like the National Christmas Tree, our country is a living, growing thing planted in rich American soil. Only our devoted care can bring it to full flower. So, let this holiday season be for us a time of rededication. Even as we rejoice, however, let us remember that for some Americans, this will not be as happy a Christmas as it should be. I know a little of what they feel. I remember one Christmas Eve during the Great Depression, my father opening what he thought was a Christmas greeting. It was a notice that he no longer had a job. Over the past year, we’ve begun the long, hard work of economic recovery. Our goal is an America in which every citizen who needs and wants a job can get a job. Our program for recovery has only been in place for 12 weeks now, but it is beginning to work. With your help and prayers, it will succeed. We’re winning the battle against inflation, runaway government spending and taxation, and that victory will mean more economic growth, more jobs, and more opportunity for all Americans. A few months before he took up residence in this house, one of my predecessors, John Kennedy, tried to sum up the temper of the times with a quote from an author closely tied to Christmas, Charles Dickens. We were living, he said, in the best of times and the worst of times. Well, in some ways that’s even more true today. The world is full of peril, as well as promise. Too many of its people, even now, live in the shadow of want and tyranny. As I speak to you tonight, the fate of a proud and ancient nation hangs in the balance. For a thousand years, Christmas has been celebrated in Poland, a land of deep religious faith, but this Christmas brings little joy to the courageous Polish people. They have been betrayed by their own government. The men who rule them and their totalitarian allies fear the very freedom that the Polish people cherish. They have answered the stirrings of liberty with brute force, killings, mass arrests, and the setting up of concentration camps. Lech Walesa and other Solidarity leaders are imprisoned, their fate unknown. Factories, mines, universities, and homes have been assaulted. The Polish Government has trampled underfoot solemn commitments to the UN Charter and the Helsinki accords. It has even broken the Gdansk agreement of August 1980, by which the Polish Government recognized the basic right of its people to form free trade unions and to strike. The tragic events now occurring in Poland, almost 2 years to the day after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, have been precipitated by public and secret pressure from the Soviet Union. It is no coincidence that Soviet Marshal Kulikov, chief of the Warsaw Pact forces, and other senior Red Army officers were in Poland while these outrages were being initiated. And it is no coincidence that the martial law proclamations imposed in December by the Polish Government were being printed in the Soviet Union in September. The target of this depression [repression] is the Solidarity Movement, but in attacking Solidarity its enemies attack an entire people. Ten million of Poland’s 36 million citizens are members of Solidarity. Taken together with their families, they account for the overwhelming majority of the Polish nation. By persecuting Solidarity the Polish Government wages war against its own people. I urge the Polish Government and its allies to consider the consequences of their actions. How can they possibly justify using naked force to crush a people who ask for nothing more than the right to lead their own lives in freedom and dignity? Brute force may intimidate, but it cannot form the basis of an enduring society, and the ailing Polish economy cannot be rebuilt with terror tactics. Poland needs cooperation between its government and its people, not military oppression. If the Polish Government will honor the commitments it has made to human rights in documents like the Gdansk agreement, we in America will gladly do our share to help the shattered Polish economy, just as we helped the countries of Europe after both World Wars. It’s ironic that we offered, and Poland expressed interest in accepting, our help after World War II. The Soviet Union intervened then and refused to allow such help to Poland. But if the forces of tyranny in Poland, and those who incite them from without, do not relent, they should prepare themselves for serious consequences. Already, throughout the Free World, citizens have publicly demonstrated their support for the Polish people. Our government, and those of our allies, have expressed moral revulsion at the police state tactics of Poland’s oppressors. The Church has also spoken out, in spite of threats and intimidation. But our reaction cannot stop there. I want emphatically to state tonight that if the outrages in Poland do not cease, we cannot and will not conduct “business as usual” with the perpetrators and those who aid and abet them. Make no mistake, their crime will cost them dearly in their future dealings with America and free peoples everywhere. I do not make this statement lightly or without serious reflection. We have been measured and deliberate in our reaction to the tragic events in Poland. We have not acted in haste, and the steps I will outline tonight and others we may take in the days ahead are firm, just, and reasonable. In order to aid the suffering Polish people during this critical period, we will continue the shipment of food through private humanitarian channels, but only so long as we know that the Polish people themselves receive the food. The neighboring country of Austria has opened her doors to refugees from Poland. I have therefore directed that American assistance, including supplies of basic foodstuffs, be offered to aid the Austrians in providing for these refugees. But to underscore our fundamental opposition to the repressive actions taken by the Polish Government against its own people, the administration has suspended all government-sponsored shipments of agricultural and dairy products to the Polish Government. This suspension will remain in force until absolute assurances are received that distribution of these products is monitored and guaranteed by independent agencies. We must be sure that every bit of food provided by America goes to the Polish people, not to their oppressors. The United States is taking immediate action to suspend major elements of our economic relationships with the Polish Government. We have halted the renewal of the Export-Import Bank’s line of export credit insurance to the Polish Government. We will suspend Polish civil aviation privileges in the United States. We are suspending the right of Poland’s fishing fleet to operate in American waters. And we’re proposing to our allies the further restriction of high technology exports to Poland. These actions are not directed against the Polish people. They are a warning to the Government of Poland that free men cannot and will not stand idly by in the face of brutal repression. To underscore this point, I’ve written a letter to General Jaruzelski, head of the Polish Government. In it, I outlined the steps we’re taking and warned of the serious consequences if the Polish Government continues to use violence against its populace. I’ve urged him to free those in arbitrary detention, to lift martial law, and to restore the internationally recognized rights of the Polish people to free speech and association. The Soviet Union, through its threats and pressures, deserves a major share of blame for the developments in Poland. So, I have also sent a letter to President Brezhnev urging him to permit the restoration of basic human rights in Poland provided for in the Helsinki Final Act. In it, I informed him that if this repression continues, the United States will have no choice but to take further concrete political and economic measures affecting our relationship. When 19th century Polish patriots rose against foreign oppressors, their rallying cry was, “For our freedom and yours.” Well, that motto still rings true in our time. There is a spirit of solidarity abroad in the world tonight that no physical force can crush. It crosses national boundaries and enters into the hearts of men and women everywhere. In factories, farms, and schools, in cities and towns around the globe, we the people of the Free World stand as one with our Polish brothers and sisters. Their cause is ours, and our prayers and hopes go out to them this Christmas. Yesterday, I met in this very room with Romuald Spasowski, the distinguished former Polish Ambassador who has sought asylum in our country in protest of the suppression of his native land. He told me that one of the ways the Polish people have demonstrated their solidarity in the face of martial law is by placing lighted candles in their windows to show that the light of liberty still glows in their hearts. Ambassador Spasowski requested that on Christmas Eve a lighted candle will burn in the White House window as a small but certain beacon of our solidarity with the Polish people. I urge all of you to do the same tomorrow night, on Christmas Eve, as a personal statement of your commitment to the steps we’re taking to support the brave people of Poland in their time of troubles. Once, earlier in this century, an evil influence threatened that the lights were going out all over the world. Let the light of millions of candles in American homes give notice that the light of freedom is not going to be extinguished. We are blessed with a freedom and abundance denied to so many. Let those candles remind us that these blessings bring with them a solid obligation, an obligation to the God who guides us, an obligation to the heritage of liberty and dignity handed down to us by our forefathers and an obligation to the children of the world, whose future will be shaped by the way we live our lives today. Christmas means so much because of one special child. But Christmas also reminds us that all children are special, that they are gifts from God, gifts beyond price that mean more than any presents money can buy. In their love and laughter, in our hopes for their future lies the true meaning of Christmas. So, in a spirit of gratitude for what we’ve been able to achieve together over the past year and looking forward to all that we hope to achieve together in the years ahead, Nancy and I want to wish you all the best of holiday seasons. As Charles Dickens, whom I quoted a few moments ago, said so well in “A Christmas Carol,” “God bless us, every one.” Good night. Editor’s Note: We have reproduced here in full Ronald Reagan’s 1981 Christmas address from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. We encourage you to visit the original. Posted by NFRA Staff  • December 25, 2011 Merry Christmas to all of you!

Remarks on Lighting the National Community Christmas Tree

Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone. And today he is the centerpiece of much of the human race. All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon Earth as powerfully as this one solitary life.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower: Remarks Upon Lighting the National Community Christmas Tree. December 24, 1953

Dwight D. Eisenhower 1953 [ Broadcast over radio and television at 5:09 p.m. ] My Fellow Americans–here in Washington, in your homes across the Nation and abroad–and in our country’s service around the world: This evening’s ceremony, here at the White House, is one of many thousands in America’s traditional celebration of the birth, almost 2,000 years ago, of the Prince of Peace. For us, this Christmas is truly a season of good will–and our first peaceful one since 1949. Our national and individual blessings are manifold. Our hopes are bright even though the world still stands divided in two antagonistic parts. More precisely than in any other way, prayer places freedom and communism in opposition, one to the other. The Communist can find no reserve of strength in prayer because his doctrine of materialism and statism denies the dignity of man and consequently the existence of God. But in America, George Washington long ago rejected exclusive dependence upon mere materialistic values. In the bitter and critical winter at Valley Forge, when the cause of liberty was so near defeat, his recourse was sincere and earnest prayer. From it he received new hope and new strength of purpose out of which grew the freedom in which we celebrate this Christmas season. As religious faith is the foundation of free government, so is prayer an indispensable part of that faith. Tonight, richly endowed in the good things of the earth, in the fellowship of our neighbors and the love of our families, would it not be fitting for each of us to speak in prayer to the Father of all men and women on this earth, of whatever nation, and of every race and creed–to ask that He help us–and teach us–and strengthen us–and receive our thanks. Should we not pray that He help us? Help us to remember that the founders of this, our country, came first to these shores in search of freedom–freedom of man to walk in dignity; to live without fear; beyond the yoke of tyranny; ever to progress. Help us to cherish freedom, for each of us and for all nations. Might we not pray that He teach us? Teach us to shun the counsel of defeat and of despair of self-pride and self-deceit. Teach us, and teach our leaders, to seek to understand the problems and the needs of all our people. Teach us how those problems may reach solution in wisdom and how best those needs may be met. But teach us, also, that where there may be special problems, there can be no special rights; and though there may be special needs, there can be no special privileges. Teach us to require of all those who seek to lead us, these things: integrity of purpose; the upright mind, selfless sacrifice, and the courage of the just. Teach us trust and hope and self-dependence. Teach us the security of faith. And may we pray that He strengthen us. Strengthen us in understanding ourselves and others–in our homes, in our country, and in our world. Strengthen our concern for brotherhood. Strengthen our conviction that whatever we, as Americans, would bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America. Strengthen our efforts to forge abroad those links of friendship which must one day encircle the world, if its people are to survive and live in peace. Lastly, should we not pray that He receive our thanks? For certainly we are grateful for all the good we find about us; for the opportunity given us to use our strength and our faith to meet the problems of this hour. And on this Christmas Eve, all hearts in America are filled with special thanks to God that the blood of those we love no longer spills on battlefields abroad. May He receive the thanks of each of us for this, His greatest bounty–and our supplication that peace on earth may live with us, always.


Citation: Dwight D. Eisenhower: “Remarks Upon Lighting the National Community Christmas Tree.,” December 24, 1953. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=9791 Arnold Friberg created the original painting of “The Prayer at Valley Forge” in 1976 to honor our country’s bicentennial year. Courtesy of www.mountvernon.org

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” – George Washington; Father of our country, Our first President, “First in War, First in Peace, and First in the Hearts of His Countrymen.”

Holidays at Mount Vernon

Mount Vernon comes alive for the Christmas. Check out… Learn More

Crossing of the Delaware Learn more about George Washington’s bold Christmas day crossing of the Delaware River in 1776 and his great victory at Trenton. Learn More

The Death of Washington George Washington died 214 years ago this December 14th.  Learn more about how he died, where he is buried, and his powerful legacy from those closest to him. Learn More

Greetings from White House Christmas Cards

White House Christmas Cards & Messages of the Presidents of the United States President George Washington (1789-1797)President Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865)President Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961) Like the rituals of the holiday season, the history of Christmas cards from the White House is ingrained in time-honored traditions. With the passing of each era, these traditions have been modified and expanded upon by United States Presidents of centuries past and decades of recent…from George Washington to George Bush – these are all Presidents who have made their mark on the heritage of celebrating Christmas in the White House and on the long-standing tradition of Christmas cards being sent from the United States Chief Executive. WhiteHouseChristmasCards.com was created to capture these accounts and provide narrative for wondering minds interested in the history of Christmas cards as they pertain to the White House and each President. Have you ever wanted to know which President sent out the first Christmas cards? Have you ever considered whether or not the first Presidents of the United States even celebrated Christmas? Have you ever wondered who actually receives presidential Christmas cards? If these questions ever crossed your mind, then you’re in the right place. Did you know that Abraham Lincoln requested cartoonist Thomas Nast (see below) to create a special Christmas-themed illustration for the cover of Harper’s Weekly that linked holiday celebrations to the ongoing Civil War? Nast ended up creating the standardized image of Santa Claus as we know it today, which we relish in thousands of unique Christmas cards designs. These types of Christmas-related facts and tidbits are dotted throughout this site, woven together by the key historical elements that define how each President is remembered in the minds of the American people. So for all of you history buffs and Christmas cards fanatics, enjoy the information provided on this site and if you know of any important facts that we accidentally omitted, please share them in the comments field.

Washington resigning as General two days before Christmas of 1783Two days before Christmas in 1783, Washington resigned as General of the Continental Army and relinquished the power to become king. Shortly thereafter, he headed home to Mount Vernon to spend Christmas with Martha.

More Christmas with Presidents Trivia:

The White House observance of Christmas before the twentieth century was not an official event. First families decorated the house modestly with greens and privately celebrated the Yuletide with family and friends.

George & Martha Washington (1789-1797) At a time when Christmas was still quite controversial in a new nation, Martha Washington’s holiday receptions were stiff and regal affairs, quite befitting the dignity of the office of President of the United States and invitations were much desired by the local gentry.

A Christmas party was given by the Washington’s for members of Congress on Christmas Day, 1795, at which a bountiful feast was served to the guests – all men with the exception of the First Lady! The festivities at the Mount Vernon plantation in Virginia would start at daybreak with a Christmas fox hunt. It was followed by a hearty mid-day feast that included “Christmas pie,” dancing, music, and visiting that sometimes did not end for a solid week.

This, of course, is in stark contrast to the Christmas of 1777, spent by General Washington and his troops at Valley Forge where dinner was little more than cabbage, turnips, and potatoes.

Abraham & Mary Todd Lincoln (1861-1865) During the first Christmas of the war (1861), Mrs. Lincoln arranged flowers, read books, helped serve meals, talked with the staff, and cared for the wounded at Campbell’s and Douglas hospitals. She personally raised a thousand dollars for Christmas dinners and donated a similar amount for oranges and lemons when she heard that there was a threat of scurvy.

During the Christmas season of 1863, the Lincolns’ son, Tad, had accompanied his father on hospital visits and noticed the loneliness of the wounded soldiers. Deeply moved, the boy asked his father if he could send books and clothing to these men. The President agreed and packages signed “From Tad Lincoln” were sent to area hospitals that Christmas.

One Christmas Tad Lincoln befriended the turkey that was to become Christmas dinner. He interrupted a cabinet meeting to plead with his father to spare the bird. The President obliged by writing a formal pardon for the turkey named Jack.

(ca 1869 – Thomas Nast:  Santa Claus and his Works,  First red suit for a Nast Santa,  St Nicholas Center Collection)

White House Tree History Christmas Tree Trivia and more:

1889-1893, In 1889 the tradition of a placing an indoor decorated tree in the White House began on Christmas morning during the Presidency of Benjamin Harrison. His grandchildren, and extended family gathered around the first indoor White House Christmas tree.

1901-1909, President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, an avowed conservationist, did not approve of cutting trees for Christmas decorations and banned the Christmas tree from the White House. However, his son Archie smuggled in a small tree that was decorated and hidden in a closet in the upstairs sewing room.

The Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt family Christmas traditions were quite simple. On Christmas Eve, they would pile into the family sleigh (later the motor car) and travel to Christ Church in Oyster Bay, New York. Following the pastor’s sermon, TR would deliver one of his famous “sermonettes” on the meaning of the holiday. The service would close with one of his favorite hymns “Christmas By the Sea.” On Christmas morning, gifts would be opened and then the family would spend the day hiking, playing games, and going for sleigh rides.

For many years TR played Santa Claus at a school in Oyster Bay, New York, listening to the children and then giving them Christmas presents that he had selected himself.

1923-1928, In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony now held every year on the White House lawn. In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge touches a button and lights up the first national Christmas tree to grace the White House grounds. (Until 1923, holiday celebrations were local in nature.) It was the first to be decorated with electric lights – a strand of 2,500 red, white and green bulbs. While radio station WCAP broadcast the event to possibly a million Americans, the President gave no speech. The evening centered, instead, on Christmas carols and other festive music performed at the tree-lighting ceremony, including by the Epiphany Church choir and the U.S. Marine Band. Later that evening, President Coolidge and first lady Grace were treated to carols sung by members of Washington D.C.’s First Congregational Church.

That year, the erection of a National Christmas Tree was the first of several holiday practices instituted during the Coolidge Presidency that are still with us today. It was 1927 when President Coolidge issued a holiday message to the nation – and then only a brief one written by his own hand on White House stationery. Its text was carried in newspapers across the land on Christmas Day. Finally, in 1928, on his last Christmas Eve in office, the President delivered to the nation via radio the first tree-lighting speech. It was 49 words in length.

For Christmas, the First Lady often gave little gifts to the staff. Her husband was known for his tight fist and a thrift that he both practiced and preached.

In 1929, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover established the custom of decorating an official (and not just a personal) tree in the White House. Since that time, the honor of trimming a principal White House Christmas tree on the state floor has belonged to our first ladies.

1953-1961, In 1953, the Dwight & Mamie Eisenhower sought out Hallmark Cards to assist them in creating a presidential Christmas card – the beginning of the official White House Christmas card. In 1954, the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony is named the Pageant of Peace. It is held each year in early December to light the National Christmas Tree and includes performances by popular entertainers before the lighting of the National Christmas Tree by the President. The National Christmas Tree remains lit through January 1.

Unlike other Presidents who distinguished political from household staff, the Eisenhowers brought both together (more than 500 in all) for a Christmas party each year. For the White House staff, Mamie purchased gifts in area department stores, personally wrapping each one to save money.

President Eisenhower took a personal interest in the gifts and cards that were sent from the White House. Ike was an artist in his own right and allowed six of his own paintings to be used as Christmas gifts and cards during his administration. In eight years, Hallmark produced a prodigious 38 different Christmas cards and gift prints for the President and First Lady. No previous administration, nor any since Eisenhower’s, has sent such a variety of holiday greetings from the White House.

In 1963, the first Christmas card to include an explicitly religious element was the Kennedy card featuring a photo of a Nativity Scene set up in the East Room of the White House. Jack and Jacqueline had signed 30 cards before their final trip to Dallas. None was ever mailed. The National Christmas Tree that year was not lit until December 22nd because of a national 30-day period of mourning following President Kennedy’s assassination.

1969-1974, The Vietnam War was going strong when Richard & Pat Nixon entered the White House in 1969. Pat Nixon personally supervised an elaborate plan for decorating the White House. For the first time in a quarter century, wreaths were hung in every window. In the Great Hall stood a 19-foot fir tree with ornaments that featured the flowers of the fifty states. Christmas celebrations during the following years were often filled with controversy and difficulty.

In 1969, the Pageant of Peace was embroiled in legal controversy over the use of religious symbols, and in 1973, the nativity scene that had always been part of the pageant was no longer allowed.

1974-1977, In 1975, Gerald & Betty Ford to honor America’s upcoming bicentennial celebration, the National Christmas Tree was decorated with 4,600 red, white, and blue ornaments and 12,000 lights. On the top of the 45-foot blue spruce sat a 4-foot gold and green replica of the Liberty Bell. There were also 13 smaller trees representing the 13 colonies and 44 other trees placed in a row representing states and territories.

Ford, December 18th, 1975 – As we gather here before our Nation’s Christmas tree, symbolic of the communion of Americans at Christmastime, we remind ourselves of the eternal truths by which we live. . . . In our 200 years, we Americans have always honored the spiritual testament of 2,000 years ago. We embrace the spirit of the Prince of Peace so that we might find peace in our own hearts and in our own land, and hopefully in the world as well.

1981-1989, In 1981 President Ronald Reagan began another custom by authorizing the first official White House ornament, copies of which were made available for purchase.

Christmas in Illinois, where both Ronald and Nancy Reagan grew up, was a sharp contrast to their Christmases in Washington. The President has recalled that his family never had a really fancy Christmas. During the Depression, when they couldn’t afford a Christmas tree, his mother would decorate a table or make a cardboard fireplace out of a packing box.

Reagan, December 23rd, 1981 – At this special time of year, we all renew our sense of wonder in recalling the story of the first Christmas in Bethlehem, nearly 2,000 year ago. Some celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a great and good philosopher and teacher. Others of us believe in the Divinity of the child born in Bethlehem, that He was and is the promised Prince of Peace. . . . Tonight, in millions of American homes, the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the love Jesus taught us. . . . Christmas means so much because of one special child.

Reagan, December 16th, 1982 – In this holiday season, we celebrate the birthday of One Who, for almost 2,000 years, has been a greater influence on humankind than all the rulers, all the scholars, all the armies and all the navies that ever marched or sailed, all put together. He brought to the world the simple message of peace on Earth, good will to all mankind. Some celebrate the day as marking the birth of a great and good man, a wise teacher and prophet, and they do so sincerely. But for many of us it’s also a holy day, the birthday of the Prince of Peace, a day when “God so loved the world” that He sent us His only begotten Son to assure forgiveness of our sins.

Reagan, December 15th, 1983 – Many stories have been written about Christmas. Charles Dickens’ “Carol” is probably the most famous. Well, I’d like to read some lines from a favorite of mine called, “One Solitary Life,” which describes for me the meaning of Christmas. [He then read the full story.] . . . I have always believed that the message of Jesus is one of hope and joy. I know there are those who recognize Christmas Day as the birthday of a great and good man, a wise teacher who gave us principles to live by. And then there are others of us who believe that He was the Son of God, that He was Divine. If we live our lives for truth, for love, and for God, we never need be afraid.

In 1984, the Nativity Scene was allowed to return to the Pageant of Peace, and when the National Christmas Tree was lit on December 13th, temperatures were in the 70s, making it one of the warmest tree lightings in history. December 13, 1984 President Reagan Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree  December 21, 1984 Message on the Observance of Christmas

Reagan, December 12th, 1985 – We do not know the exact moment the Christ Child was born, only what we would have seen if we’d been standing there as we stand here now: Suddenly, a star from heaven shining in our eyes, shining with brilliant beauty across the skies, a star pointing toward eternity in the night, like a great ring of pure and endless light, and then all was calm, and all was bright. Such was the beginning of one solitary life that would shake the world as never before or since. When we speak of Jesus and of His life, we speak of a man revered as a prophet and teacher by people of all religions, and Christians speak of someone greater – a man Who was and is Divine. He brought forth a power that is infinite and a promise that is eternal, a power greater than all mankind’s military might, for His power is Godly love, love that can lift our hearts and soothe our sorrows and heal our wounds and drive away our fears. . . . If each of us could give but a fraction to one another of what He gave to the whole human family, how many hearts could heal, how much sorrow and pain could be driven away.

1989-1993, Barbara Bush took particular pleasure in hosting a special party for homeless children from the Central Union Mission in Washington, DC. She distributed special Christmas bags filled with gifts and then read them Christmas stories.

The First Lady added her own special touches to the holiday with her annual cherry picker ride to hang the star at the top of the National Christmas Tree, a trip she took 12 times beginning in the Reagan Administration as the wife of the Vice President.

George Bush, December 18th, 1989 – During the beautiful and holy season of Christmas, our hearts are filled with the same wonder, gratitude, and joy that led the psalmist of old to ask, “When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that Thou visitest him?” At Christmas, we, too, rejoice in the mystery of God’s love for us – love revealed through the gift of Christ’s birth. Born into a family of a young carpenter and his wife, in a stable shared by beasts of the field, our Savior came to live among ordinary men. Yet, in time, the miraculous nature of this simple event became clear. Christ’s birth changed the course of history, bringing the light of hope to a world dwelling in the darkness of sin and death. Today, nearly 2,000 years later, the shining promise of that first Christmas continues to give our lives a sense of peace and purpose. Our words and deeds, when guided by the example of Christ’s life, can help others share in the joy of man’s Redemption.

2001-2009, In 2001, the first White House Christmas card to contain a Scripture was chosen by Laura Bush. Quoting from Psalm 27, it said “Thy face, Lord, do I seek. I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living,” which is what The First Lady believed would happen after the tragedy of September 11. She chose that Scripture on September 16 (only 5 days after 9/11) based on a sermon the chaplain had preached at Camp David. Mrs Bush picked cards with Bible verses when her husband was Texas Governor and continued to do so in the White House.

December 6, 2001 President George W Bush Remarks on Lighting the National Christmas Tree December 20, 2001 Message on the Observance of Christmas 2001 December 25, 2001 Christmas Greeting to the Nation

Bush, December 6th, 2001 – Now once again, we celebrate Christmas in a time of testing, with American troops far from home. . . . It is worth recalling the words from a beautiful Christmas hymn. In the third verse of “Oh Holy Night” we sing, “His law is love, and His gospel is peace. Chains ye shall break, for the slave is our brother. And in His name all oppression shall cease. . . . We fight so that oppression may cease, and even in the midst of war, we pray for peace on Earth and good will to men.

Bush, December 4th, 2003- Throughout the Christmas season our thoughts turn to a star in the east, seen 20 centuries ago, and to a light that can guide us still. . . . The story of Christmas is familiar to us all, and it still holds a sense of wonder and surprise. When the good news came first to a young woman from Nazareth, her response was understandable. She asked, “How can this be?” The news would bring difficulty to her family and suspicion upon herself. Yet, Mary gave her reply, “Be it unto me according to Thy word.” The wait for a new king had been long, and the manner of his arrival was not as many had expected. The king’s first cries were heard by shepherds and cattle. He was raised by a carpenter’s son. Yet this one humble life lifted the sights of humanity forever. And in His words we hear a voice like no other. . . . We don’t know all of God’s ways, yet the Christmas story promises that God’s purpose is justice and His plan is peace. At times this belief is tested. During the Civil War, Longfellow wrote a poem that later became a part of a Christmas carol, “Hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on Earth, good will to men.” That poem also reminds us that hate is not the final word: “Then pealed the bells more loud and deep, `God is not dead, nor doth He sleep, the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on Earth, good will to men.

In 2004 George and Laura sent holiday cards with a Bible verse from Psalms (95:2): “Let us come before him with Thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”

2 responses to “(pt1) Merry CHRISTMAS America, a uniquely Christian nation, the reason for the season, ect. From our founders to the present

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