Friday, November 30, 2018

A Presidential Christmas Proclamation Quiz

The claim is going around that President Trump has returned "Merry Christmas," a phrase apparently verboten for some time, to the White House. Is this true?  In the interest of pursuing truth, I ask that you take a little quiz about which one of our last four presidents said the following things on the occasion of Christmas or the lighting of the Christmas tree. I'm not trying to make any type of political point. My interest is in knowing truth.

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A. "Warm greetings to everyone celebrating Christmas. The Christmas story is dear and familiar to us all—shepherds and angels, Wise Men and King Herod, Mary and Joseph, and, at the heart of it all, a Child. This Child was born into poverty in a city too crowded to offer Him shelter. He was sent to a region whose people had endured suffering, tyranny, and exile. And yet this Child brought with Him riches so great that they continue to sustain the human spirit two thousand years later: the assurance of God's love and presence in our lives and the promise of salvation. Each year at Christmas, we celebrate these gifts with family and friends. We place candles in the window as a sign that there is always room for Christ in our homes. We put angels and stars and twinkling lights on the Christmas tree to remind us of the glory and mystery of Christ's birth. We sing the old and beloved Christmas carols to express the joy filling our hearts, and we share special gifts with those we love, just as God shared His Son with us. And, in contemplating the nativity scene under the tree or in a neighbor's yard, we realize that children hold a special place in God's heart, since He sent His only Son to us as a little Child."

B. "At this special time of year, we give thanks for Christ's message of love and hope. Christmas reminds us that we have a duty to others, and we see that sense of duty fulfilled in the men and women who wear our Nation's uniform. America is blessed to have fine citizens who volunteer to defend us in distant lands. For many of them, this Christmas will be spent far from home, and on Christmas our Nation honors their sacrifice, and thanks them for all they do to defend our freedom…. At this special time of year, we reflect on the miraculous life that began in a humble manger 2,000 years ago. That single life changed the world, and continues to change hearts today. To everyone celebrating Christmas, [spouse] and I wish you a day of glad tidings.  Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas."

C. "For Christians all across our nation, around the world, this is a sacred season that begins 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ was born.  An angel declared to the shepherds tending their flocks, “Behold, I bring you good tidings, great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is a born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”  There in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph held in their hands the son of God; the light of the world; and, through Him, the promise of eternal salvation… Merry Christmas, everyone.  Merry Christmas and God bless you."

D. "Merry Christmas, everybody!... Along with celebrations like these, the holidays also offer us a time for reflection and perspective.  And 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… Merry Christmas, everybody.  Happy holidays.  May God bless you all, and may God bless these United States of America."  

E. "For Christians we remember the story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph that began more than 2,000 years ago. As the book of Isaiah tells us, for to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. This good news is the greatest Christmas gift of all, the reason for our joy and the true source of our hope."

F. "Today, our family will join millions across the country in celebrating the birth of Jesus – the birth not just of a baby in a manger, but of a message that has changed the world: to reach out to the sick; the hungry; the troubled; and above all else, to love one another as we would be loved ourselves….So Merry Christmas, everybody. May God bless you all. And we wish you and your family a happy and healthy [upcoming year]."


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Answers:

A. Bill and Hillary Clinton, December 25, 1995
B. George Bush, December 23, 2006
C. President Trump, tree lighting ceremony, 2018
D. President Obama, tree lighting ceremony, 2014
E. President Trump, Christmas Address on December 15, 2017
F. President Trump, Christmas Address on December 15, 2017


The good news: Christmas, Christ, and Merry Christmas were never banned from the White House. Our presidents (all of them, I think - I just started with the Clintons for our purposes today) have had no problem saying Merry Christmas and talking about the importance of Jesus to the holiday and the holiday spirit when lighting the tree and issuing Christmas day proclamations, the two official Presidential acts concerning the holiday.

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