Good morning. On this Christmas day, as families across the nation gather in our homes to celebrate, Laura and I extend to all Americans our best wishes for the holidays. We hope this Christmas is a time of joy and peace foreach of you, and we hope it offers you a chance for rest and reflection as youlook forward to the new year ahead.
The Christmas season fills our hearts with gratitude for the many blessings in ourlives. And with those blessings comes a responsibility to reach out to others.Many of our fellow Americans still suffer from the effects of illness orpoverty, others fight cruel addictions, or cope with division in theirfamilies, or grieve the loss of a loved one.
Christmastime reminds each of us that we have a duty to our fellow citizens, that we arecalled to love our neighbor just as we would like to be loved ourselves. By volunteering our time and talents where they are needed most, wehelp heal the sick, comfort those who suffer, and bring hope to those whodespair, one heart and one soul at a time.
The times we live in have brought many challenges to our country. And at suchtimes, the story of Christmas brings special comfort and confidence. For 2000years, Christmas has proclaimed a message of hope: the patient hope of men andwomen across centuries who listened to the words of prophets and lived injoyful expectation, the hope of Mary who welcomed God's plan with great faith,and the hope of Wise Men who set out on a long journey, guided only by apromise traced in the stars.
Christmas reminds us that the grandest purposes of God can be found in the humblestplaces, and it gives us hope that all the love and gifts that come to us inthis life are the signs and symbols of an even greater love and gift that cameon a holy night.
Thank you for listening, and Merry Christmas.