Weekly Address: Merry Christmas from the President and First Lady

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President and First Lady wished Americans a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. They celebrated the values of the season, and in that spirit of gratitude honored all the brave men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, as well as the families that stand by them. The President and First Lady asked that everyone take time this holiday season to visit JoiningForces.gov, and find out how to give back to the troops, veterans, and military families in your community.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Merry Christmas from the President and First Lady

Remarks of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
Weekly Address, The White House, December 25, 2015

THE PRESIDENT: Merry Christmas, everybody! This is one of our favorite times of the year in the Obama household, filled with family and friends, warmth and good cheer. That’s even true when I spend all night chasing Bo and Sunny away from the cookies we leave for Santa.

It’s also my favorite weekly address of the year, because I’m joined by a special holiday guest star: Mrs. Obama.

THE FIRST LADY: Merry Christmas, everyone. Here at the White House, we’ve spent the past month helping everyone get into the holiday spirit.

Our theme this year is “A Timeless Tradition,” and the decorations in each room reflect some of our country’s most cherished pastimes – from saluting our troops and their families to helping children dream big dreams for their future.

And we’ve invited thousands of families here to the White House to enjoy the festivities – because there’s no holiday tradition more timeless than opening our doors to others.

THE PRESIDENT: Today, like millions of Americans and Christians around the world, our family celebrates the birth of Jesus and the values He lived in his own life. Treating one another with love and compassion. Caring for those on society’s margins: the sick and the hungry, the poor and the persecuted, the stranger in need of shelter – or simply an act of kindness.

That’s the spirit that binds us together – not just as Christians, but as Americans of all faiths. It’s what the holidays are about: coming together as one American family to celebrate our blessings and the values we hold dear.

During this season, we also honor all who defend those values in our country’s uniform. Every day, the brave men and women of our military serve to keep us safe – and so do their families.

THE FIRST LADY: So as we sing carols and open presents, as we win snowball fights…

THE PRESIDENT: Or lose snowball fights…

THE FIRST LADY: Let’s also take time to pay tribute to those who have given our country so much. Go to JoiningForces.gov to see how you can serve the troops, veterans, and military families in your community.

And together, we can show them just how grateful we are for their sacrifice. That’s a tradition we all can embrace – today and every day.

THE PRESIDENT: So on behalf of Malia, Sasha, Bo, Sunny, and everyone here at the White House – Merry Christmas. May God bless our troops and their families. And may God bless you all with peace and joy in the year ahead.

Bolding added.

~

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18 Comments

  1. These are values that we should all embrace, regardless of our religion or lack thereof.

    Treating one another with love and compassion. Caring for those on society’s margins: the sick and the hungry, the poor and the persecuted, the stranger in need of shelter – or simply an act of kindness.

    Happy Holidays!

    • We are so lucky to have the Obamas as our First Family. They have made the White House into a happy place, filled with love, humor, and grace.

      I will miss them.

  2. From the Reuters news site, a reminder of the cost of war:


    Andrew Suzuki of Warrenton, Virginia, sits among graves adorned with holiday wreaths while visiting the grave of his son Matthew Suzuki on the third anniversary of his death – from Arlington National Cemetery’s Section 60 in Virginia, December 22, 2015. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

  3. From Pope Francis:

    Pope Francis led the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics into Christmas Thursday, urging those “intoxicated” by possessions and superficial appearances to return to the essential values of life.

    Celebrating a Christmas Eve Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, Francis, whose nearly three-year-old papacy has been marked by calls for sobriety and compassion for the less fortunate, said Christmas was the time to “once more discover who we are.”

    The 79-year-old Argentine pope encapsulated in his homily some of the key themes of his papacy: mercy, compassion, empathy and justice.

    “Amid a culture of indifference which not infrequently turns ruthless, our style of life should instead be devout, filled with empathy, compassion and mercy, drawn daily from the wellspring of prayer”

    Bolding added.

  4. In the News: The Idaho lunch lady who gave a hungry kid a meal – and was fired for it – has been offered her job back

    Bowden was fired last week after she gave a free lunch to a 12-year-old girl who didn’t have any money. Bowden offered to pay for the $1.70 lunch. But her supervisor refused and she was placed on leave and then fired two days later.

    A registered letter informed Bowden that her employment with the district was terminated due to her theft of school district property. The one-page letter was signed by District 25 Human Resource Director Susan Pettit.

    After a national backlash on social media and international news coverage, District 25 issued a press release around 9 p.m. Wednesday offering Bowden her job back.

    She is not sure she will take it because she is understandably a little worried that they will have it in for her. It turns out that the child she gave the lunch to was within her $11 overage limit but did not know how to ask for it or did not want to ask out of fear of embarrassment. :(

    We have food lunch programs but they are often attached to poor shaming. In the case of District 25, it is more important to follow the rules than to feed a hungry child. Maybe they should read their bible.

    • We have food lunch programs but they are often attached to poor shaming. In the case of District 25, it is more important to follow the rules than to feed a hungry child. Maybe they should read their bible.

      You are so right, Jan! These soi-disant “Christians” are as far from the actual teachings of Jesus, as described in the New Testament, as Sirius is from Earth.

    • Once school comes back from break I want to check to see if there is a way to donate to a fund that will provide for kids who are short. Need to see if it is an issue but I’d love to be able to contribute to that. We don’t think about these kids unfortunately.

  5. Thanks for reproducing the Christmas message from our President and First Lady here, Jan. I, too, cherish our First Family and will miss them when things change in January 2017.

    It cheers me to think of young African-American girls growing up, knowing that young girls who look just like them live in the most famous house in the world.

    I’m thinking of getting one of those bumper stickers that reads, “Hillary in 2016, Michelle in 2024, Chelsea in 2032, Malia in 2040.” :)

  6. In the News: Young Man with Old Ideas Surprised Only Old People Like Him …

    [Marco] Rubio, 44, is having trouble connecting with younger people, polls and pollsters indicate. While those under 45 are lukewarm to the Florida senator, older folks are considerably more enthusiastic, and are a big reason he’s surged into third place in many national polls. […]

    “I don’t think there’s a lot of evidence that younger people want to vote for young candidates,” Della Volpe said. “The reason (President) Obama did so well in 2008 with young voters wasn’t because he was an early baby boomer. It’s because he shared a world view with young people that was relevant to the moment.” […]

    [Rubio] opposes same-sex marriage and legalization of marijuana, is skeptical that human activity contributes to climate change, and is staunchly against opening up diplomatic ties with Cuba, the country his parents emigrated from almost 60 years ago. Those positions put Rubio at odds with many younger Americans, surveys indicate.

    He is a perfect example of what the Republican establishment thinks will win elections: putting a youthful veneer on their tired old ideas. Sorry, GOP, young people are smarter than that.

    • Shorter problem with Rubio … he’s a putz. With the personality of a dead fish.

      (Folks should remember he won seat through 3-day race.)

      • I didn’t realize that (the 3-way race) until yesterday – Twitter told me! He is really the emptiest of empty suits. The establishment likes his looks and his charm … which seems to work better on grandparents than young people.

        • Ha! Twitter told me, too. lol

          (That’s where I get most of my useful [and not so useful] bits of news.)

  7. In the News: Pew Study on World Religions

    As of 2010, Christianity was by far the world’s largest religion, with an estimated 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31%) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth. Islam was second, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23% of the global population.

    If current demographic trends continue, however, Islam will nearly catch up by the middle of the 21st century. Between 2010 and 2050, the world’s total population is expected to rise to 9.3 billion, a 35% increase.1 Over that same period, Muslims – a comparatively youthful population with high fertility rates – are projected to increase by 73%. The number of Christians also is projected to rise, but more slowly, at about the same rate (35%) as the global population overall.

    Another reason, perhaps, that the white christianists in America are so afraid. They appear to be getting swamped by racial, ethnic and religious demographics.

    Here is an interesting chart showing that when there is “religion switching” that it more often than not is from religion to no religion. Another symptom of the unwelcoming face of major religions, especially the religious right in America, where the rate is even higher:

    Over the coming decades, Christians are expected to experience the largest net losses from switching. Globally, about 40 million people are projected to switch into Christianity, while 106 million are projected to leave, with most joining the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated.

      • I also wondered where we fit! Is Wicca considered a “folk religion” (I would not think so) or simply “unaffiliated”. I don’t feel unaffiliated! I feel great affiliation with the earth, her cycles, and my pagan friends.

  8. President Obama sent me an email – with a New Years greeting!!

    Jan —

    I’ve got 12 months left to squeeze every ounce of change I can while I’m still in office. And that’s what I intend to do.

    We’ve done a lot of remarkable things together this year, and it’s because of committed citizens like you that this country keeps moving forward. You keep proving the cynics wrong.

    On January 12, I’ll be giving my last State of the Union address. I want you to watch, and say you’re ready to keep up the fight in 2016 — because your voice matters just as much as mine does.

    OFA is one of the groups getting people fired up to take action in 2016. Say you’ll watch the State of the Union, and commit to taking action next year.

    When we took office, we were losing nearly 750,000 jobs a month. But over the last 69 months, our businesses have created more than 13.7 million new jobs — the longest streak of private-sector job growth on record — and the unemployment rate is down to 5 percent.

    For the first time more than 90 percent of Americans are now covered, and more than 17 million people have gained health insurance under Obamacare. Insurance companies can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, or charge women more just for being women.

    And America is now leading by example on climate change. The Clean Power Plan will cut carbon pollution from power plants by 32 percent by 2030. We’ve cut our oil imports by more than half, while doubling clean energy production from wind, solar, and geothermal — creating steady sources of good jobs that can’t be outsourced.

    Even as our economy is growing, America has cut our carbon pollution overall more than any other advanced nation on Earth. And we just helped secure the most ambitious global climate agreement in history.

    These are your accomplishments, and that’s what I want to celebrate with you on January 12. As long as you’re out there organizing, on whatever issue you’re organizing around, America has a bright future ahead.

    Let’s lean into that in 2016. Add your name today to say you’ll watch the State of the Union, and OFA will be in touch soon:

    https://my.barackobama.com/Watch-State-Of-The-Union-2016

    Thanks — and happy New Year,

    Barack Obama

  9. The President and First Lady extend Kwanzaa greetings:

    December 26, 2015
    Statement by the President and the First Lady on Kwanzaa

    Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to families across the country celebrating Kwanzaa this holiday season. Today begins a week-long celebration of African-American heritage and culture through family and community festivities. Kwanzaa’s seven principles – unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith – are also shared values that bind us as Americans. And in the spirit of the season, we reflect on the blessings of the past year and commit to building a brighter future for all our children. As families, friends, and neighbors come together today to light the Kinara, our family sends our best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

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