The Presidents Explain Christmas
By Chuck Norris
I must commend President Obama for getting closer
this year to conveying the true message of Christmas.
But how does that saying go, "Close is only good enough
in horse shoes and hand grenades"?
This time last year, Obama botched his yuletide
First, unlike preceding presidents who took pride in
America's Judeo-Christian and Christmas heritage, on
Dec. 24, 2009, Obama (with the first lady at his side)
delivered the most brief and impotent religious
admonition in the history of presidential Christmas
addresses, describing the incomparable Bethlehem miracle
as merely containing a benign "message of peace and
brotherhood that continues to inspire more than 2,000
years after Jesus' birth."
Second, the president dodged and dissed the meaning
of Christmas when he was visiting some children at the
Boys and Girls Club in Washington, D.C. In an informal
verbal exchange, two distinct times the children
unexpectedly brought up to the president the real reason
for the season. And both times, when he could have
elaborated, explained or encouraged the heart of
Christmas, he awkwardly turned the conversation to a
religiously neutered subject. He even left the children
with the non-Christmas admonition that "the most
important message I can leave is, is that you guys have
so much potential – one of you could end up being
president some day!"
Even during Obama's superstar Christmas interviews
with Oprah and Gloria Estefan, there were discussions
about Santa, Christmas trees, ornaments, gingerbread
houses and even their dog's Christmas stocking. He gave
a Christmas shout-out to all Hispanics, but no such
shout-out to the Savior of mankind.
And it seems his administration was following secular
suit this past year. Just last week, the Federal Reserve
ordered a small-town bank in Oklahoma to remove
Christian signs and symbols on display. Examiners from
the Fed deemed a Bible verse of the day, crosses on the
teller's counter and buttons that say "Merry Christmas,
God with us" were completely inappropriate and needed to
Times weren't always this way – with our presidents,
the federal government or our culture.
A few months ago, when I was filming my six T-Mobile
Christmas commercials at Prague in the Czech Republic,
my wife, Gena, and I discovered a Christmas tradition
they have that we wish was a part of our tradition in
America. They still call Christmas "Christmas," not
"Happy Holidays." And on Christmas morning they tell
their children that Jesus brings the Christmas tree and
Jesus brings the gifts. It really brought a great amount
of joy to our hearts when we heard about that tradition.
That is when we knew going there to film those
commercials was a great decision.
Therefore, it was no surprise to us, when we heard
that their neighbor Poland unveiled in November the
tallest statue in the world of Jesus at 167-feet. (By
comparison, the statue in Brazil's Rio is 125 feet
tall.) Rev. Sylwester Zawadzki, the 78-year-old priest
who created the statue, said the actual figure of Jesus
(without the platform on which it stands) rises 108
feet, or 33 meters – one meter for every year that Jesus
lived. No wonder President Reagan once called Poland, "a
land of deep religious faith."
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the Fed
is trying to strip small-town America's local banks of
any Christmas decorations and meaning. And our
president's speech writers are trying to figure out how
to refer enough to the birth of Christ in his Christmas
addresses that others don't think he's a Muslim, but not
smack of being too Christian, that they alienate the
president's progressive, Islamic and atheistic
Though their couple speech attempts
started better this December than last, both ended up
neutering the soul of Christmas.
The first was during Obama's remarks
at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on Dec.
Each year we've come together to
celebrate a story that has endured for two millennia … 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.
So far, so good. I appreciated the
president's speech writers actually using the word
So I guess in the next sentence he
will explain the true message of Christmas about how the
Savior was born to die and redeem mankind from the power
of sin and death?
Here's Obama's next sentence and his
explanation of the Christmas message:
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.
I don't know what Bible the president
is reading, but the Christmas message is not about civil
rights or social justice and welfare.
He even elaborated on that
pseudo-Christmas message a few nights later, on Dec. 12,
2010, while being flanked by the first lady and his
eldest daughter. The president spoke during the
"Christmas in Washington" celebration at the National
Building Museum in Washington, DC.:
The season reminds us that over 2,000
years ago a child born in a stable brought our world a
redeeming gift of peace and salvation. It's a story with
a message that speaks to us to this day: that we are
called to love each other as we love ourselves. We are
our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper. …
In the words of President Ronald
Reagan, "There you go again."
President Obama, I hate to burst your
community-coordinator caring bubble. But, while a
critical part of Christ's adult message, 30 years later
after his birth, was in fact "love one another," the
story of Christmas is not about mutual or reciprocated
love, but God's love for helpless sinners. Franklin
Roosevelt even said in his Christmas Message, 1942: "I
say that loving our neighbor as we love ourselves is not
enough – that we as a nation and as individuals will
please God best by showing regard for the laws of God."
Let me allow the angel, who spoke
these words to Jesus' earthly father Joseph in a dream,
explain it as he did 2,000 years ago: "Mary will give
birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins." Or as
the angel foretold to the shepherds in the field: "Today
in the town of Bethlehem a Savior has been born to you;
he is the Messiah, the Lord."
Mr. President, with Christmas just a
few days away, it's not too late to ante up and get it
right. You might have the best opportunity in some years
as your weekly address this week falls right on
Christmas morning. In fact, I think I'll even put a
pause on my family's reading of the biblical Christmas
story in expectation that you'll set the mood by reading
And if your speech writers are on
Christmas break and you need a script for your
teleprompters, why not just cite a president who didn't
milk down the specifics of the story or his Christian
faith, Ronald Reagan, here in his Christmas Address from
Dec. 12, 1981, televised and on radio from the Oval
Office to the entire nation and world.
"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. … 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. …
So, let this holiday season be for us a time of
rededication. … Tonight, in millions of American homes,
the glow of the Christmas tree is a reflection of the
love [of] Jesus. … Let those candles remind us that
these blessings bring with them a solid obligation, an
obligation to the God who guides us … Christmas means so
much because of one special child."
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