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President Obama's remarks at national Christmas tree lighting
December 9th, 2010
08:26 PM ET

President Obama's remarks at national Christmas tree lighting

President Barack Obama spoke Thursday night at the lighting of the national Christmas tree on the ellipse, just outside the White House:

This is a very proud holiday tradition. Snow or shine, in good times and in periods of hardship, folks like you have gathered with presidents to light our national tree. Now, it hasn’t always gone off without a hitch. On one occasion, two sheep left the safety of the nativity scene and wandered into rush-hour traffic. That caused some commotion.

Often, the ceremony itself has reflected the pain and sacrifice of the times. There were years during the Second World War when no lights were hung, in order to save electricity. In the days following Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill joined President Roosevelt to wish our nation a Happy Christmas even in such perilous days.

But without fail, each year, we have gathered here. Each year we’ve come together to celebrate a story that has endured for two millennia. It’s a story that’s dear to Michelle and me as Christians, but it’s a message that's universal: A child was born far from home to spread a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world.

It’s a message that says no matter who we are or where we are from, no matter the pain we endure or the wrongs we face, we are called to love one another as brothers and as sisters.

And so during a time in which we try our hardest to live with a spirit of charity and goodwill, we remember our brothers and sisters who have lost a job or are struggling to make ends meet. We pray for the men and women in uniform serving in Afghanistan and Iraq and in faraway places who can’t be home this holiday season. And we thank their families, who will mark this Christmas with an empty seat at the dinner table.

On behalf of Malia, Sasha, Michelle, Marian, who’s our grandmother-in-chief, and Bo - don’t forget Bo - I wish all of you a merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Christmas • Holidays • Politics

soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. anonymous

    That was a cool stuff…Informative as well…During the search for Christmas related blogs, I came across another blog which has a wonderful description of Christmas tree and a few related patents…Below mentioned is an excerpt of the mentioned article.

    “It is a busy world and a busy life. People are in a hurry to earn their living and achieve some thing in life. During the rush to fulfill their dreams, they hardly find time to catch up with their loved ones and even forget to enjoy life. That is the point where festivals play a significant role. Nowadays festivals are the only occasions during which people reunite with their dear ones and find some time to enjoy regardless of their hectic schedules. One of such a festival – Christmas has come.

    Christmas is a joyous festival. People round the globe celebrate this holy festival throughout the week. They catch up with their family, hang around with their friends and so on. Christmas trees…. “Read more at http://www.sinapseblog.com/2010/12/decorated-christmas-trees.html

    Merry X'mas.....

    December 23, 2010 at 6:15 am |
  2. Omair Arain

    In spite of what everyone is saying, I believe that any argument between Church and State is futile due to the fact that is a mere transformation of the long-time political clash of Liberalism vs. Realism. Obviously there would be the realist argument that the two realms, politics, i.e. the state, and social constructs, i.e. church, should be segregated. Yet realists would also argue that people in their own pursuit will want to implement their own beliefs into the government. On the other end, the liberalists would argue that beliefs and government should freely intermix. The point is, no matter how much it’s argued, the flow between arguing for and against the integration of church and state will stay exactly where it is. This is because, as in the example of the Bar Model, the tendency of systems is to balance out to equilibrium, and this conflict has been at ends long enough for exactly that to happen. Thus I do not believe that it is likely for there to be any change in the system given the First Amendment or the fact that America was built as a secular state.

    December 12, 2010 at 2:41 am |
  3. Mike, not me

    Where are all the separation of Church and State fantics?

    December 10, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • PAGANGRL69

      LMAO...LOLOLOLOLOL...
      Shopping for Presents!!!

      December 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm |
    • Calus

      What's a fantic?
      Are you one of those retarded people who don't understand why it's good to keep religion out of government?
      How sad. I hope they ra-pe you in prison for not worshiping correctly, then. Or burn you alive.
      Whatever works for the religious government retards when they storm your house at 3am, I guess...

      December 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @Mike, not me

      You wanted to discuss this in terms of the First Amendment or something? But you won't complain that christians are being oppressed here, is that right?
      When you want to have your religion make the laws you are denying freedom of religion to everyone else.
      When your religion trumps the Constltution, then you are no longer worthy of being an American.
      Keep your asinine religious doctrines out of our secular laws.

      If you can't control your own people using your own damn book, what makes you think you'll be able to control them after you have overthrown this country and destroyed all our freedoms?

      People like you don't seem to think very far ahead. There are real consequences you do not appear to have thought about.
      Our freedoms are what make this a fairly good place to live, yet they are being undermined every day by people like you.

      December 11, 2010 at 9:47 am |
    • Mike, not me

      Wow that is a lot of anger in response to a simple, commical question?

      Are you still agree over the last post?

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/12/07/why-religion-breeds-happiness-friends/#comment-188210

      "Keep your asinine religious doctrines out of our secular laws."

      How does one do that and why aren't the secular community called to leave their doctrines out of the public square?

      Again... simple example... What should the divorce laws be? If you believe, that family is for the raising of children you make the laws difficult. If it is for self pleasure only divorce should be easy. Everyone shapes the laws based on their beliefs regardless of where they come from?

      December 13, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • Mike, not me

      "Our freedoms are what make this a fairly good place to live, yet they are being undermined every day by people like you."

      If that is the case then are you not underminding my freedom to undermind? Think, before getting angry.

      Not sure what you mean by "people like me"?

      December 13, 2010 at 10:24 am |
  4. Frogist

    I see he tried to make a more secular-themed message. And I'm good with that. It feels like with all the negative focus on President Obama's religious leanings, I've got to see how multicultural the White House is in celebrating Hannukah and Eid and now Christmas. And that's a clear silver lining in all the grey at least for me. Now if only the rest of America would follow suit.

    December 10, 2010 at 9:29 am |
    • PAGANGRL69

      Next -maybe is Kuanza I think not sure?...Then Winter Solstice Dec.21...How long would the list be?Pretty damn long!- I'm sure...
      lolololololol....

      December 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm |
  5. Reality

    On behalf of Reality and his family and friends, A Very Happy Mythmas to You All!! ( and I thank Frogist for that observation).

    Added background on the Myth i.e. something BO and the other presidents forgot to mention:

    Professor JD Crossan with great tho-ro-ughness examined all the existing scr-iptural writings from the first and second ce-nturies AD/CE including those of the Nativity stories. If you do not have his 505 page book, The Historical Jesus, see Google Books.

    Using these doc-uments plus the conclusions of the major NT exegetes in the past two hundred years, he compared Jesus' reported acts and sayings to when they were reported and how many reports were made. Those acts and sayings with single or later att-estations along with the current biblical scholarship negativity, were judged not to be done or said by the historical Jesus. Approximately 67% of the NT was judged to be in that category, i.e. embellishments of the facts typically made to compete with the "Caesar", "Alexander" and Egyptian gods. See wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php?ti-tle=Crossan_Inventory

    Use this latter site to analyze your NT references for "Crossan" acceptance, e.g. Matt 1:23
    26±. Jesus Vi-r-g-inally Conceived: (1) Gos. Heb. 1; (2) Matt 1:18-25; (3) Luke 1:26-38; (4a) Ign. Eph. 7:2; (4b) Ign. Eph. 18:2a; (4c) Ign. Eph. 19:1; (4d) Ign. Smyrn. 1:1b., was judged to be not from the historical Jesus but of th-eolo-gical importance.

    These same passages also are in direct conflict with

    (!5a) John 6:42
    (!5b) John 7:40-44
    (!5c) John 8:39-41
    (!6) Luke 2:27,33,41,48

    where Joseph is reported to be the father of Jesus.

    "In Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography (2000), Bruce Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a ma-mzer; someone whose irre-gular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the co-mm-unity. He argues for the natural paternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reco-nstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' selfidenti-ty, his concept of God and his spiritual quest."

    "John P,Meier [Marginal Jew I,220-22] discusses the vi-rginal conception as part of his larger chapter on Jesus' origins. He earlier notes that both infancy narratives "seem to be largely the product of Christian reflection on the salvific meaning of Jesus Christ in the light of OT prophecies (p. 213). At the end of his examination, Meier concludes:

    "The ends result of this survey must remain meager and disappointing to both defenders and opponents of the doctrine of the vir-ginal conception. Taken by itself, historical-critical research simply does not have the sources and tools available to reach a final decision on the historicity of the vi-rginal conception as narrated by Matthew and Luke.

    One's acceptance or rejection of the doctrine will be largely influenced by one's own philosophical and theological presu-ppositions, as well as the weight one gives to Church teaching."

    You might also say that here was a man whose simple teachings were embellished and "mythicized" to compete with the gods of Rome, Greece, Ba-bylon, Pe-rsia and Eg-ypt to the point that only about 30% of the NT is historical.

    With respect to the Three Kings:

    The Three Kings/Wise Men myth was developed from all types of analogous legends and OT passages pre-Jesus. See faithfutures.org/index.php?t-itle=369_Star_of_Revelation for a lenthly review.

    An excerpt:

    Gerd Luedemann

    "Commenting on the infancy narratives overall, Luedemann [Jesus, 124-29] concludes that Luke and Matthew represent "two equally unhistorical narratives." He cites the occurrence of a miraculous heavenly sign at key points in the life of Mithridates VI in a history written by Justinus (active in the reign of Augustus, 2 BCE to 14 CE). "

    John P. Meier (Notre Dame professor)

    "Meier [Marginal Jew I,211ff and 376] considers these traditions to be "largely products of early Christian reflection on the salvific meaning of Jesus in the light of OT prophecies" and concludes that their historicity is "highly questionable."

    December 9, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ Reality

      " A Very Happy Mythmas to You All!! "

      I know a good speech therapist that can help you with that lisp...

      December 10, 2010 at 12:58 am |
    • Reality

      Some here apparently are having problems saying "Happy Mythmas". Hmmm, how about "Happy Mythmess" or "Happy Messy Myths" or "Happy Your Myths Not Mine" or "Happy "Who are You Kidding"? The suggestion box is open!!

      December 10, 2010 at 7:12 am |
    • Frogist

      @Reality: LOL! And You're welcome! BTW I'm liking "Happy MythMess" even better than Mythmas.
      Also Happy Holidays to you too!

      December 10, 2010 at 9:31 am |
    • Bill In STL

      Well, how about happy Saturday (that is mythmass day by your own terms) and I hope you have a very happy nothing special season!

      December 10, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
    • Shilohgl

      LOL I love all of these silly spins on Merry Christmas. Its entertaining to say the least. I do have a question for each of you...will you be celebrating Christmas? Will you be opening Christmas present on the 25th? Will you not be going to work on the 25th? Will you and your family gather at the dinner table to share a meal unlike any other during the year? If you answer yes to any of these question, then I thank you for celebrated or observing the day the world over celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ. If you say no to any of these then you are liar. Merry CHRISTmas. LOL
      Be Blessed.

      December 19, 2010 at 8:39 am |
  6. kim

    MERRY CHRISTMAS

    December 9, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
  7. Sum Dude

    Well, the President had to say something. They keep him around for stuff like that, I understand. 😛

    December 9, 2010 at 8:38 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.