Christmas In The White House
by Colleen Donahue
It was reported with great excitement last week that Christmas under the Trump administration had returned to the White House. The implication was that under Mr. Obama's administration all the important "symbols" for Christ's birth were taken away and replaced with a generic "Happy Holidays" -- a "one size fits all" approach to this time of year.
The facts however, don't support this accusation of Mr. Trump's predecessor. President Obama presiding over the lighting of the Christmas tree in 2016 wished all a "Merry Christmas". He said it was a time of "marking my family's Christian faith" and celebrating "the birth of our Savior".
Even if Mr. Obama or some other president had "stole Christmas" as Mr. Trump suggests, it's worth stepping back to get a new perspective. Christmas is the celebration of Christ's coming to earth. Everything that Jesus stood for could be summed up by the word LOVE. He wasn't talking about friendship or sexual love sung about in pop music. It was "agape love" -- the kind of love that put others first. Jesus extended it to all and that meant putting himself into another's shoes.
Our president represents a whole nation -- people from every walk of life and persuasion. Our American family has Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists and many others who do not celebrate as Christians do. In our homes and personal lives we are free in America to express our beliefs and celebrate as we choose. But when it comes to the president, the situation changes a little. Our president must be a "father" to ALL Americans and real love for people will include all of them.
If we could travel ahead in time, we may at some point have a Muslim or a Jewish president. How would you feel if the White House were decorated with Jewish or Islamic symbols to celebrate the season? If that wasn't your religion you'd feel incensed -- not part of the family. You'd feel that the president didn't represent you or the many others who weren't in his religious fold.
We never need to hide the fact that if we are Christians we celebrate Christ's birth at Christmas. But, in our public establishments, there is wisdom in decorating and celebrating so that everyone can be a part of it. It's not the words "Merry Christmas" that will make a difference to someone, but real agape love that looks out for and includes others.