Warm greetings to everyone celebrating Christmas.
Saint Matthew's Gospel tells us that, on the first Christmas 2000 years ago, a bright star shone vividly in the eastern sky, heralding the birth of Jesus and the beginning of His hallowed mission as teacher, healer, servant, and savior. Jesus' birth in poverty proclaimed the intrinsic dignity and brotherhood of all humanity, and His luminous teachings have brought hope and joy to generations of believers. Today, as the world stands at the dawn of a new millennium, His timeless message of God's enduring and unconditional love for each and every person continues to strengthen and inspire us.
During this blessed season and the Jubilee Year it inaugurates, let us share the gift of God's love by giving of ourselves and by sharing generously with those in need. Let us reach out to those who are different from us, yet one in the human family, by living the profound and universal lesson Jesus taught us: that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Let us, like Jesus, become true peacemakers, bringing the gift of peace to our homes, our schools, our communities, and our nation. And let us continue to reach out when and where we can to give new hope to the most impoverished and to help resolve conflicts, both ancient and new, in regions around the world.
Love, peace, joy, hope—so many beautiful words are woven through our Christmas songs and prayers and traditions. As we celebrate this last Christmas of the 20th century, let us resolve to build a future where all people learn to love one another and to live together in harmony; where our children know true joy; and where our hopes for peace, freedom, and prosperity for all are finally realized.
Hillary joins me in extending best wishes for a wonderful Christmas celebration and every happiness in the new year.