I must commend President Barack Obama for getting closer this year to conveying the true message of Christmas. But how does that saying go, "Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades"?
This time last year, President Obama botched his yuletide yodels. Preceding presidents took pride in America's Judeo-Christian and Christmas heritage, but President Obama -- on Dec. 24, 2009, with the first lady at his side -- delivered the most brief, impersonal 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."
This year, the president's speechwriters 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 so Christian that they alienate the president's progressive, Islamic and atheistic base.
Though their speech attempts started better this December than last, both of this year's attempts ended up neutering the soul of Christmas.
The first was during Obama's remarks at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on Dec. 9: "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 speechwriters actually using the word "redemption."
So I guess in the next sentence, he will explain the true message of Christmas, how the Savior was born to die and redeem mankind from the power of sin and death.
Not exactly. 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, Dec. 12, 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: "This season reminds us that more than 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, that we are our brother's keeper and our sister's keeper."
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