President Obama, who talks about his Christian faith quite regularly, references it again in his messages around Christmas.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia (hidden behind other parishioners) attend services at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Sasha and Malia (hidden behind other parishioners) attend services at Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011. RNS photo courtesy of Pete Souza, The White House

The Obamas attended the Sunday (Dec. 16) taping of “Christmas in Washington’’ benefit concert, which aids the Children’s National Medical Center.

“I should remind my girls that I like getting Christmas presents as much as anybody.  (Laughter.)” he said, according to a transcript provided by the White House. “But this is also a time to remember the story of a child born to two faithful travelers on a holy night, long ago.”

In his address, Obama referenced to what Jesus considered the two greatest commandments.

“The sacred birth of Jesus Christ was God’s gift to man on Earth. And through His example, He taught us that we should love the Lord, love our neighbors, as we love ourselves; It’s a teaching that has endured for generations,” he said. “And today, it lies at the heart of my faith and that of millions of Americans, and billions around the globe.”

As he has in the past, Obama appears to make an effort to reach out to all faiths–or those of no faith, with a call to action.

“No matter who we are, or where we come from, or how we worship, it’s a message of hope and devotion that can unite all of us this holiday season,” he said. “It compels all of us to reach out and help our less fortunate citizens — our poor, our sick, our neighbors in need — and to serve those who sacrifice so much on our behalf.”

The 2013 White House holiday card. Photo by Andrew Walker

The 2013 White House holiday card. Photo by Andrew Walker (Image source)

The White House Christmas card with the White House as a pop-up, is fairly generic. “As we gather around this season,” the card reads, “may the warmth and joy of the holidays fill your home.”

At the lighting of the Christmas tree on Dec. 6, Obama also retold the story of Jesus’s birth.

“Each Christmas, we celebrate the birth of a child who came into the world with only a stable’s roof to shelter Him. But through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, a life guided by faith and kindness towards others, Christ assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia.”

He expanded on how Jesus impacted those around him.

“[Jesus] ministered to the poor. He embraced the outcast.  He healed the sick,” Obama said. “And in Him we see a living example of scripture that we ought to love others not only through our words, but also through our deeds.”

Like in many of his speeches, Obama expanded on the story to make it universal.

“It’s a message both timeless and universal — no matter what God you pray to, or if you pray to none at all — we all have a responsibility to ourselves and to each other to make a difference that is real and lasting,” he said. “We are our brother’s keeper. We are our sister’s keeper.”

5 Comments

  1. Barack Obama, who has already self-identified as a person of “Evolving Beliefs” (whatever that means), has made it clear that obeying “the two greatest commandments” is a primary belief for him. So he’s very clear about Matt. 22:37-40.

    But once again, the same Obama has avoided mentioning the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the current status of his own belief or non-belief regarding that specific Gospel. He has again avoided mentioning exactly where he personally stands regarding John 3:16. 1 Cor. 15:3-4, etc.

    Granted, one would not expect that Obama as president would preach a hot Billy Graham evangelistic sermon to the very diverse “Christmas-in-Washingion” crowd. But Obama’s continued refusal to at least self-identify with the salvation-by-faith Gospel of Jesus Christ, is a very serious situation that should not be overlooked by readers.

    Re-read the article. Obama says a few nice things about Christ, but nothing that seriously differentiates Him from other famous good caring humans in history. And Obama makes it sound like a sufficient response to Christ is simply to work at loving God and loving one’s neighbor.

    And notice the kicker: If you look at Pulliam’s final paragraph, you’ll see that Obama actually reduces the “loving God” commandment to an easily dispensable option, lest the atheists get offended.

    The media is NOT going to call attention to issues like this. They have no incentive to do investigative reporting on this topic; the 2012 election is over. Obama shows up at church on Christmas and Easter, says a few niceties that won’t rock anybody’s boat, and the media is more than satisfied.

    But you, the reader, don’t have to be satisfied. It’s okay to ask what Obama, the president of “Evolving Beliefs”, really believes these days.

    In terms of this event,

    • “But once again, the same Obama has avoided mentioning the Gospel of Jesus Christ…” That is actually untrue. Now this is true: “One would not expect that Obama as president would preach a hot Billy Graham evangelistic sermon…” The President of the United States is the President of a nation that practices freedom of religion, and not a theocracy. Therefore, it is good and proper that he, as previous Presidents have, acknowledge that this season is for all people, and that excluding people from the message of love would be in and of itself un-Christlike. One needs only read the Bible to glean Jesus’ views on that.

      In answer to your charge of no mention of a Gospel faith:

      The President said, “The sacred birth of Jesus Christ was God’s gift to man on Earth.” What gift do you think he is referring to?

      The President refers to Jesus as Christ. “But through a life of humility and the ultimate sacrifice, a life guided by faith and kindness towards others, Christ assumed a mighty voice, teaching us lessons of compassion and charity that have lasted more than two millennia.” Christ means Messiah, or “the anointed one of God.”

      Sounds pretty Gospel to me.

      If one’s beliefs have never evolved over the course of one’s life, perhaps one should be a little more open to learning new things and to God’s voice as it is continually revealed through His love even today.

  2. john c. adams III

    Obviously this is a very affirming Christian message from a man who has repeated professed to be a Christian.Yet it will not be accepted at face value by those who hate him for whatever reasons.The Bible clearly teaches that we are not the judges of the sincerity of another believers heart and faith– that’s the Lord’s job.Yet his opponents will question his sincerity and his Christianity no matter what he says or does.I commend President Obama for his positive Christmas message in the face of a lot of political opposition to public professions of Jesus Christ.God Bless the President,his family and the United States of America. John Adams

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